Just something I got inspiration for when thinking about the ending.

Diclaimer: I own neither the manga nor the characters involved. Nor do I make any money out of this.

It was funny.

Hilarious, really. In the end, even if it had taken three thousand years, the game had ended with a winner.

Or none, perhaps. He had lost everything at the game's very beginning. But surely, dragging everyone else down with you was victory? Especially if you were the one left standing at the end.

The best part was that no one had even realized it, and in the end he hadn't even needed to do much of anything himself. Well, not much compared to the central role that he'd played the first time.

Zorc, in all his forms, for all his powers, drove himself in a corner. By insisting on regaining his former glory, he'd ended up losing everything. Granted, the Spirit of the Millenium Ring had been a gnat compared to the Lord of the Afterworld but at least he'd existed. Had Zorc been satisfied with that, he could probably have existed forever. Certainly, the Pharaoh had proven quite unable to banish him permanently in their previous battles. By entering the memory world, he had gambled everything.

And all that had been required for his defeat had been to suggest subtly, quietly, that he could get away with a bit more gloating before the killing.

It had been close. If the Spirit had ordered the memory world's Zorc to attack as soon as he was summoned, the Pharaoh would have perished. Fortunately, both Zorc and the Spirit loved gloating almost as much as they loved killing.

But the most beautiful irony was the Pharaoh's defeat. He hadn't even needed to do anything! By the time he had returned, history had completed his revenge more fully than anything he could have done. Egypt was a simple country amongst many, not particularly amazing except for it's age. The Pharaohs' lineage had lasted longer than he'd have liked, but they had come to an end. The Egyptian Gods? Mere myths. The Pharaoh himself? Forgotten by history! His name erased! He had even forgotten himself!

Oh, he'd regained his memories eventually. And then he had finally completed his death. It was sad that he had never truly felt despair at realizing all that he'd lost, but there was nothing that could be done about that. Not without hurting Yugi and the others as well, and they were innocent of Atem's sins. A grudge three thousands years old wasn't worth spreading misery, not when he could see that time had proven that his justice had been the right one in the end.

Atem was gone. The Spirit was gone. Zorc was gone. And Kul Elna had finally fallen silent.

"It lasted for longer than I thought, but that was a satisfying postlude, right, Mr King?"

With a satisfied smile, Ryou Bakura drifted into peaceful sleep.