This is my first try at writing Yu-gi-oh! I only got back into the show a few weeks ago after watching Yu-gi-oh! The Abridged Series as well as a few episodes of Season 0 and reading the first mangas which is where Season 0 came from. I combine both the anime and manga since I love how Yami/Atem first acted when he was releashed from the puzzle.

For now this is a one-shot with no pairings, it might not be totally accurate, it also might not stay a one-shot. If I add pairings into it and extend it into a series of oneshots it would most likely contain /yami/dark/caste/puzzle/shippings since those are my favorites. ) There are others, but who wants to really list them all?

Anyway...

I do not own Yu-gi-oh!

and

Enjoy~


Darkness Spared

I believe the writings on the wall
I don't regret at all
I never played the game
Part of me will always see the sun
As if it just begun
To be the only one
Who knew what I became

~ Ra 'Supernova'

A cold chill enveloped the stone chamber as tendrils of black shadows coiled around his body, digging deep into his skin, amethyst eyes wide in shock as even more shadows restrained his father before his vision faded into black. An agonized cry tore his throat as the shadows dragged him further into darkness, tearing at his very being.

"Let's play a Game, Atem…" a thousand voices shouted at once in his mind, but he fought against them hearing the voice of his father.

"I asked only for you to spare my son! He does not have any part in my wrong doings!" his tone no longer reflecting the commanding tone of a ruler, but rather the demanding tone of a father.

"You did not specify how we were to spare him, Pharaoh. Young Atem will recover only not as you once knew him as your son." A different set of voices seemed to answer at once in a deafening volume, he felt a warm hand grip is wrist, a new terror filling his mind at the thought of death.

"What have you done to him?"

"We simply opened his heart to the darkness within his soul; it will consume him unless he comes to terms with what he truly is." Darkness? Shadows? He could feel their icy touch against his skin, the voices of the damned whispering sweet nothings in a language he couldn't understand.

"My son is not evil."

"Darkness does not equate to evil, Pharaoh. Your son shows great cunning and skill as well as an understanding of the Shadows already. We have watched him for some time; he often stays up late into the night to watch the shadows dance over the kingdom as well as his own skin." Yes, he had seen them before, watched them play in the bright moonlight. They spoke to him, calling out a longing that he couldn't understand himself.

"Just what are you saying?"

"The Shadows have already chosen Atem to be their new master, now he will accept his new role in this life."

"Yet by doing so you are asking him to rip his own soul in two when he is yet only a child!"

"That is not what you were saying to him moments ago, Pharaoh and as our child you must learn to respect our decision. I suggest you return to the palace and stand by Atem's side while you can still stand." The voices dismissed both of them, before a new pain tore through his soul causing him to let go and follow the Shadows down.

"Pharaoh, I mean no disrespect when I utter these words; however I can feel a certain air of darkness surrounding Atem." Shimon whispered in a hushed tone believing that he wouldn't be heard, but the week he had spend within the Shadows had changed more than the color of his eyes. Yet he would let them think that he was only observing the courtyard below, his sense on high alert.

"The darkness within Atem has been awakened by the Gods, I fear this is to be my punishment." His father answered with a heavy sigh. Everyone could sense that Aknamkanon was weakening and would soon pass on, leaving him to the throne. He wished he knew why his father was being punished, it was the only part of the puzzle that he seemed to be missing.

"Darkness? Prince Atem has never shown signs of such; he has always been a bright child with only the interest of others at heart." How wrong they were, the darkness had always been there, he had even suspected it long before the Gods had awakened it within his soul.

"The Gods see something that we do not, but it is the truth in which we cannot deny. Why even those eyes reveal what my son truly is." Yes, now everyone feared him, amethyst eyes turned bitter crimson.

"What is he my Pharaoh?"

"A being of pure cunning and skill, with wisdom beyond his years, he is the not only a master of Shadows but their slave as well. Atem is now the essence of Shadow itself."

"The essence of Shadow itself." Atem spoke aloud to himself within the confines of his soul room, even after recovering his memories it remained a never ending maze; always reflecting his inner despair and confusion. "It is the one thing I cannot change, no matter what the others believe."

Even after his duel with Dartz where he had been forced to battle the darkness in his heart, it still remained. There was no way to defeat the very thing that he was born of, not even the Thief King held the same power. He cradled the copy of the puzzle in his hands, wondering his fate.

According to his memory, his father had asked that he be spared from the punishment for creating the Millennium Items. Yet, he had to destroy part of his soul in order to defeat them.

How was he in anyway spared?

/Atem?/ Yuugi's concerned voice echoed through their mindlink.

/Don't worry aibou. I was just lost in my memories./

/More like trying to discover the meaning of life. You know you can talk to me about anything./

/ I was just thinking about how my father asked for me to be spared from the Gods' wrath and if I truly was spared./

/What do you mean?/

/In order for me to be spared, half of my soul was destroyed allowing me to become complete Darkness./ Atem paused for a moment feeling another flurry of memories enter his mind. /I've done horrible things, not that I've regretted any of them, but not anything that I'm proud of./

/You were only doing what you thought was right at the time, which at the time you had no idea who you were or what you even were. Or if this is about Dartz, I already forgave you and we're both still here. We even got your memory back, just like I promised./

/Aibou…/ a sigh escaped the Pharaoh's lips as he debated over trying to explain what he had meant. /Get some sleep, we have a long trip ahead of us./

"Not even the one closest to my soul can recognize what I really am." He let his guards down, feeling the Shadows dance across his skin, his crimson eyes seeming to glow with a renewed energy. A surge of raw power coursed through him, causing his form to break apart into wisps of shadow, the Eye on his forehead appearing.

Let's play a Game, Atem.