A/N: Season 8, Round 9. Gemshippning, Thief King Bakura x Ryou Bakura.

Egypt is actually the season I know least well. I started growing apart from the dub during the Orichalcos arc. By the time Egypt rollled around, afternoon reruns were dead, and I saw each episode only once. So most of this probably won't make any sense.

I broke my "don't use any Japanese because you're writing in English!" rule because no one's going to know what the heck I mean if I try to translate "yadonushi".

SON OF A SPHINX, WHY DID I DECIDE TO FINISH THIS IN THE DOCUMENT MANAGER? Why did it revert to the first version I saved instead of the last bunch of times I saved?

Disclamier: What's the website called? FANfiction.

What's going on?

Quiet, yadonushi. We're busy.

They were running from an ornate room, seven men, and a woman. More than one of them didn't belong in ancient Egypt.

What was that? Was that... Yugi?

I said quiet! I'm trying to concentrate!

They jumped onto a horse now, galloping past stunned soldiers.

And Kaiba? And Ishizu Ishtar?


Some of the soldiers got their wits about them and tried to strike them. Most missed, but a few weapons grazed them.

Why are we running?

Oh, go look for yourself if you're that interested!

They passed out of the city and into the desert. The horse kept running, following the river. Ryou again asked the Ring spirit where they were - and heard nothing. They approached a cluster of caves on a plateau above the city. The horse slowed, and a man slid off, crouching on the ground. Ryou fell right behind him. The man jumped, whirled around, and both Ryou and his twin leapt back, Ryou falling down in the process.

"How did you get there?" the man demanded. "Who are you?"

"I don't know," Ryou stammered, grabbing at the sand on the ground, feeling it run through his fingers. "I wasn't here. I was watching... and he told me to watch it, and then I was here. He must have sent me."

"What's your name?" the man asked, cutting off Ryou's babbling.

"B-bakura. Ryou Bakura."

The man looked shocked for a moment, then seemed to resign himself. "Hmph," he grunted. "Am I dead, then?"


"You're my ka, right? I've left my body, or I'm going to leave my body... I don't die from this, do I?" he gestured to the various wounds inflicted by the soldiers as he fled.

"Ka... what are you... You're hurt!" Ryou exclaimed, something simple and concrete he could focus on. He moved towards the stranger, who seemed annoyed by the statement but unphased by his presence. The man lifted his arm when Ryou made to grab it.

"Of course I'm hurt. No, you're too stupid to be my ka. What are you?"

"I'm... me. I'm a person. But I don't belong here," Ryou added, ignoring the things about kas, and looked at his wounds. The cuts weren't deep, but they were still bleeding. Ryou realized he had nothing to bandage them with, but the stranger reached into a saddlebag and produced his own bandages. He proceeded to treat himself, while Ryou watched. "I'm from... someplace else."

"Clearly. Where?"

"Another country. Far away," Ryou stammered. How did he explain modern Japan to this man? Was that even the answer to his question? "I don't know how I got here."

"Magic," the stranger said plainly. "Probably someone else's, if you don't even know that."

He tried to tie off the bandage, but couldn't manage with one hand. Ryou pushed his hand away and tied it himself. The man resented the help, but Ryou had finished before he could force him away.

"I do know that. What I don't know is why he sent me. Or why you look like me. Us."

"Who is 'he'?"

"He's a soul that lives in this... magic item... erm..." Ryou wasn't sure how to explain when he realized he'd just seen the ring. "The Millennium Ring."

"A soul? Is it a priest?"

"No, he looks like me. You. Us. Why do we all look alike? The man you were running from, with the millennium puzzle, he looks just like Yugi-like someone I know."

"Maybe he is me?" The man offered, but without really caring. He tied off a second bandage with his teeth before Ryou could help again.

"Why don't you let me help you?"

"I don't need it from someone foolish like you." He shrugged his robe off and felt at a cut on his back. He started to wrap the bandage, but it was out of reach. Ryou took it from him, but he pushed Ryou away.

"Why do you want to help me?" he demanded, watching Ryou with distrust.

"You're hurt... what other reason do I need?" Ryou moved to wrap the bandage, but the man blocked him again.

"We don't know each other," the man growled. "You're not getting anything out of this. Just get out of here. I can take care of myself."

"...I can't." Ryou wasn't helping him to get anything out of it. But without this man, he would be alone in this world. "Just until I can figure out how to get back!" Ryou added when the man did not relent.

"No. Go talk to the pharaoh. You said you know him, right?" He stood and walked away from Ryou.

"But you said I was your ka!"

"I was wrong. You're nothing."

"I am not, and you know it," Ryou said, surprising himself with his boldness. They faced each other. The man narrowed his eyes.

"You said your name was Ryou?"

"Call me Bakura," Ryou corrected. Only his father and sister ever called him Ryou.

"No, it'll have to be Ryou. I'm Bakura. Just Bakura."

Ryou stared. They had the same name? Bakura threw the bandages at him.

"Now make yourself useful, Ryou."

Having fun, yadonushi?

Get me out of here!

It's too late for that. You're part of the game, now. I can't believe I never thought to use you.

Game? What game?

But the spirit of the ring was silent.

"What? What is it?" Bakura asked, noticing Ryou's odd expression. They'd been together a couple days now, and they were both warming up to each other. Ryou had spent most of the time in the deserted village where Bakura and his group of followers lived. Bakura went out at night and came back during the day. He was getting something to eat before catching a few hours of sleep.

"The spirit... he talked to me," Ryou mumbled. "He says I'm stuck here... I'm part of some game..."

"He's the one that stuck you here? Will he get you out?" Bakura asked, munching on a piece of fruit. Ryou listened, waiting for more, but it was too late.

"No. I think I'm stuck here." Ryou looked down at his food, but he wasn't hungry anymore.

Bakura shrugged. "Well, you can stay here as long as you like."

"Why the change?" Ryou wondered aloud. "When I got here, you wanted nothing to do with me."

"Yes, well, you scared the hell out of me. Clearly I was crazy to want you, my good luck charm, gone." He grinned at Ryou. "I was waiting to show you this."

He threw open his red robe to reveal the Millennium Ring. Ryou jumped.

"What? How... when...?"

"Last night. You talking about the thing got me thinking I had some connection with it. So I found the priest, killed him, and took it."

"You killed him?" Ryou exclaimed.

"All thanks to you, my charm," Bakura laughed. "I'd never have thought to take the Ring first. I was thinking the Key, myself. Shada is so full of himself, and so weak. Mahad was strong, but everything went my way!"

"Why did you have to kill him?" Ryou shouted. Bakura's laugh died.

"What do you mean?" Bakura asked. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"And how can you say it like that, like it was nothing?"

"Because it was nothing," Bakura replied, not troubled by the same morality. Ryou's revulsion confused him. "What's wrong?"

"You killed him!"

"Stop repeating yourself, it's annoying," Bakura grumbled. "Yes, I killed him. He would've killed me, given the chance. I don't know what you think, but those priests are not innocent, by any stretch of the imagination."

"Really? What have they done?" Ryou demanded. Bakura's face darkened.

"They made this village the way it is," he growled. "They killed all my family. Friends. Everyone I ever knew. All dead." He lifted the Ring. "Not gone, though. Made into these."

Ryou didn't know how to respond. "I'm sorry," he stammered eventually.

Bakura stared him down, and then left without another word.

He returned late that night with a new prize. He didn't bother going to Ryou, but went down to the room beneath the village. Ryou heard them all as they came in, and went to him.

"Ryou!" Bakura exclaimed when he came in. "We did it! We've won!" He held up the Millennium Puzzle. Ryou tried not to picture Yugi.

"The pharaoh...?"

"If he's not dead, he's a lucky bastard," Bakura laughed, standing on some sort of stone sarcophagus. "Whatever happened, the priests will come after me, and bring their lovely items right to us!"

"What happens when you get all the items?"

Then I get to have fun.

"Then I summon the demon they sealed away. Then it kills them all and gets vengeance for my people."

Ryou whirled around. He heard two voices. Bakura watched him.

"What's wrong with you?"

"I heard-" Ryou stammered.

I get to come out!

"The spirit of the Ring...?" Ryou wondered.

"What's he got to say this time? He's not taking you from me, is he?" Bakura jumped off the stone and threw an arm around Ryou.

"No." Ryou concentrated on the voice. "No, he's not..." He noticed the arm on his shoulder, stiffened, and promptly forget what he was saying.

"Good! I need you here to beat the priests, my good-luck charm." Bakura gave him a whack on his shoulder. "Get some sleep! They'll be coming tomorrow. I want you right here with me."

Ryou must have looked afraid, because Bakura continued after seeing his face. "Don't worry! I'll protect you."

"Here he comes," Bakura said eagerly. Footsteps echoed in the empty cavern. "Welcome back from hell, pharaoh!"

"Bakura!" the pharaoh shouted, looking not to the thief king but the scared boy next to him.

"Yugi?" he asked. Bakura looked from one to the other.

"So you DO know each other!" he exclaimed. "How about it? My little ka-charm knows the great pharaoh!"

"Did you come with everyone else?" he asked Ryou.

"Everyone else?"

"Sorry, but I'm going to have to interrupt your reunion. The souls of Kul Elna have been waiting a very long time to kill you, pharaoh."

"No!" Ryou shouted. "Why do you have to kill him?"

"It's either him or me, Ryou," Bakura said. "Choose."

"No, it's not. Both of you can stop this!" Ryou shouted, the simplicity of it all infuriating him. No one had to die here. They had choices. They could just walk away. No one should ever take someone's life, someone with brothers and sisters and parents and children. More killing wouldn't bring back those already lost.

"Then judge me!" Yugi challenged. The other priests entered the cavern. Bakura summoned a great white monster, and the priests likewise summoned their own creatures. No one noticed Ryou. No one heard him shout for them all to stop. No one else could even see him. Yugi got his wish. The soul of Kul Elna attacked him and tried to drag him to the underworld.

"Stop it!" Ryou screamed, all but Bakura deaf to him. "You can hear me, Bakura!"

"I will not stop!" He shouted back. "Not till they're all dead!"

And in that instant, Ryou knew he would destroy himself. The spirits turned. The old pharaoh, Yugi - or whoever he was - his father appeared and lead the spirits away. The priests attacked again. Bakura fell.

"No!" Ryou shouted, running to his twin, who was crawling onto the stone tablet, fitting the items into their slots.

"Here..." Bakura shoved the puzzle at Ryou, breathing heavily. "Put it in." He tried to remove the Ring from around his own neck, but his hands were shaking. Ryou took his hands, forced the Ring back down around his neck.

"There's no point," Ryou said gently. "There never was."

"I need to kill them," Bakura muttered, but without conviction. He pushed Ryou's hands away, slowly pulling the Ring off, speaking with great effort. "What else can I do? They killed my family... how can I live with myself if I don't kill them in return...?" He got the Ring off, but held onto it. Ryou held his hands again, and this time, Bakura let him.

Let him go!

"It's okay," Ryou murmured. Only Yugi could see him. To the rest of the priests, Bakura was talking to himself.

"Some good-luck charm you are," Bakura tried to laugh, leaning forward to rest his head on Ryou's shoulder.

"I told you to stop," Ryou said, letting Bakura rest on him. He couldn't look him in the face, not while he was dying.

"You told me," Bakura admitted. "But I don't regret it."

You have no more use.

Bakura looked down as his hand turned to sand. "Well... maybe... a little. If I'd known you were coming... maybe I would've done it differently."

"Bakura!" Ryou shouted, noticing the sand. Bakura was afraid, terrified of it, but he kept an even voice.

"Sorry. You'll have to get yourself out of here."

"What's happening?"

"See you, Ryou." He vanished into sand.

Neither of you have use. You're on your own, yadonushi.

"Bakura..." Ryou mumbled. He felt the spirit of the Ring cut off again, only to sound again overhead, for all to hear.

Now it's my turn!

One of the priests came out of nowhere and forced him away from the stone. Ryou backed towards Yugi, the only refuge he had left in this world. But Yugi was frozen, trapped in time by the spirit of the Ring. A game. It all made sense now.

Ryou could move, though. He had to keep going. He wouldn't let the spirit do whatever he wanted with people's lives.

"Where's the Ring?" the priest shouted, looking at the stone. Ryou gripped the item in his hands. It was up to him to fight now.

A/N: Everything else then plays out exactly as it did in canon, only Ryou goes to join the gang.