Chapter Eight

Have you ever had that weird feeling when you're doing something - and then you sort of blink and forget all about what you were doing, and find yourself looking at the evidence of your recent past in some confusion? You know it, I'm sure you do; you've forgotten what you were going to say next in a conversation, you've forgotten what was in That One Homework Assignment the minute you walked through the door, you've forgotten all about cutting the tomatoes, and ended up staring at the red pulp and clear juice coating your knife, wondering for a moment if maybe, maybe, you just killed someone.

What Ryou experienced in that moment was sort of like that; though he (a) had good reason for his sudden 'space out', as some would call it, and he (b) forgot not only what he was doing, but also all about everything else.

Ryou forgot all about what the world looked like, so the room then became a confusing jumble of shapes, unfocused and blurred at the edges, a burning kaleidoscope of yellows and whites and browns, the greens of the game board and the dull greys of the table swirling together – and burning through the mess, like a rising run sweeping away the clouds, came a deep shade of lavender, though from what object that had come from, he could not tell.

Ryou forgot all about what sounds were; so the noisy chaos became as though someone had stuffed his cotton wall; unfocused and fuzzy, the taunts of Chikan Marik losing all clarity, the snarls of Yami Bakura seeming to melt and dissolve away into a string of syllables incomprehensible, as unrecognizable as the world now before him; sounding almost hollow in his head, resonating far too much, the echoes soon becoming confused with each other, tripping over themselves, muddling and blurring.

Ryou forgot all about what he was doing; and worse still, why he was doing it – and that was what almost got him killed, in the end. For a moment, his mind screamed out that he was fighting control, fighting, fighting, fightfightfight– but it was soon questioning itself; why was he doing it, anyway? – and then his mind was spiraling down and down, this is perfectly fine, just stand and do nothing, say nothing, and–


–open the door?

It wasn't a real door, of course; more of a very slight, faint distraction around a particular area of his mind; which chose to translate it as a 'door'; a closed entrance, which could be opened if need be. He focused on it, seeing as the only thing he really could focus on; he imagined it to be of the hardest of woods, ornately carved with images of himself (but not Bakura, he reminded himself quickly, seeing that he was not Ryou), inlaid with bits of copper and maybe a few precious stones. His mind being otherwise vacant, he found that the door was almost tangible, his probing thoughts almost seeming to make an odd sort of contact with it. In fact, if he turned his burning eyes away from the sight of the real world, if he closed them, then he could see the door in amazing detail, every knot and grain outlined, the metal glinting a moment in the light of the lavender lightning sneaking under its frame–

And then, the door exploded.

Splinters scattered in all directions, causing the boy to feel a wave of painful pinpricks from what shrapnel hit, as a new mind smashed its way into Ryou's head with an unearthly shriek. In his imagination, lavender flames blazed across the wood, then in the real world shot through his body, eliminating the frost in a heartbeat's worth of burning pain, his very blood seeming to boil – and a moment later, something slammed into the boy's consciousness, sending the rightful owner of the body flying straight out of the control room of his brain; through the door he had been trying to unfreeze, and halfway across the room lying on the other side. To be honest, given his velocity, he probably should have hit the far wall, but he hit Yami Bakura first – seconds later, he was completely entangled with the spirit, going down in a total mess of arms and legs, and somehow aware that the pale teen was now launching himself across the room at Chikan Marik, lashing out at the thing, his fists slamming hard into the Egyptian's face and his voice screaming blue murder.

Given that Yami Bakura was the lesser of the two evils, he decided it might be best to support the spirit in this matter for now, and went to cheer him on – then stopped, his cry dying about halfway up his windpipe.

Thing was, the demon was now lying underneath him, the two of them in a pile up of sorts on Ryou's bed; neither of them were in control of the body at this point, and neither had any idea who exactly appeared to be waging war on Chikan Marik.

"Take that back!", the boy was now screaming, his voice carrying an unusual rasp as he kicked Chikan Marik across the floor, then ran over in order to take him by the collar and shake him like a rag doll. "Don't you dare"

Are you doing that?, Yami Bakura mumbled in his direction, as Ryou rolled off him.

I thought you were!, Ryou replied, his thoughts muddled and shaky as he climbed to his feet in what he guessed was a soul room – it must be Bakura's, he decided, on seeing the shadows dancing around the edges of it. I mean, one probably didn't even need to notice the cracks running spiderlike over the dusty walls, or the bloody stains on the hard stone floor, or the defaced sarcophagus, its outline only just visible in the gloom, for the general idea to be translated across to the pale teen.

Yami Bakura was already on his feet beside the host, staring fixatedly at the wall opposite him; his gaze was as sharp as an eagle's, and at least six times fiercer. His lips moved a little, as though running some complex calculation or other through his mind, before he finally decided to use a scowl - and without another word, the spirit barged right through the stone before him, one hand moving as though to slamming an invisible door behind. Ryou went to follow, but all too soon found that he had problems.

Big problems.

Barely a second had passed before the room reverberated with the sounds of a voice that was not Yami Bakura's, not Ryou's. It was a dry, snakelike hiss, accompanied by a shuffling of scales not unlike the rustling of dead leaves.

Sssleepsss'aaa now... Yessss, ssssleep, ssssleepssssy...

Around the teen, the shadows crept away from the edges of the room, becoming bolder and bolder – a few very brave ones even flicked out little tendrils to touch his sneakers. But he could not move away from them; frozen in fear as he was; and by the time he had recovered from the initial shock, he was so tired, his limbs seemingly made of lead. He stood there, trying not to let his frame stoop, but he was so sleepy, ever so sleepy…

Sssssleep, little hosssst, the thing in the darkness of Yami Bakura's heart crooned, slithering softly towards him; he could tell that it was coming his way, because the noises were getting louder, the shadows a little more agitated; starting to dart inside his shoes and play with his socks, tugging a little this way and that.

Who are you?, he asked, sounding a lot calmer due to his relaxed jaw than how he really felt inside, his stomach churning and blood pumping hard around his body, fire flooding through his veins for a moment – and then it began to cool, his body slowing down, relaxing, breathing forced slower and slower. He tried again to address the creature in the dark; just audible over the constant rustling of the newcomer. Wh–who…? was all he could manage, before he stopped; transfixed by a blood–red gaze.

Sssssleep, sssssleep, sssssleep...

"Mmf," he mumbled softly, wanting to protest but too tired to - he was ever so tired, barely able to stand, certainly unable to run away as several huge coils fell around him in a cold embrace; despite the smooth appearance, they were rough and scratchy, the boy shifting uncomfortably in their grip.

And the last thing he saw was its eyes.

All four of them.

Sitting comfortably at the controls of Ryou's body, the young man was well aware of two things:

One, that he was safe now; host and spirit had been subdued, leaving him free to go and beat up that thing molesting his prize, queen of queens that she was.

And two - well, it felt damn good to punch Chikan Marik. His current body was certainly much frailer than the mind was used to, but it could still pack a good knee to the creature's most sensitive areas, then quickly glance into the mirror, seeing himself as he surely looked to Anzu dearest; a white haired angel of purity, standing over her, defending her honor.

The screaming was simply because she was awed by his magnificent presence, he was sure of it.

And when she was suddenly silenced by his opponent, the Millennium Rod glowing brightly in between the demon's fingers - well, how dare he harm someone as vulnerable as her? Before he could even register that thought, he was lunging at the thing again, fists swinging; and this time, he drew blood from the thing's nose. It was a lovely sight to him, too - he felt strong, punching his enemy, watching them cry out; a sort of savage delight he'd never really grown out of.

"Take that! And tha–"

You bastard!

He hesitated at the sound of the vicious snarl, halted for good when the spirit wrenched control of the host in one smooth, yet utterly violent movement. I might have known!, it screamed at him - and with an almighty smack, its soul backhanded his soul hard across the face.


Ow!, he whined. What was that for?

What did you think it was for, body stealer?!, the other soul returned, the boy now under its control and walking back to the game table, beckoning for Chikan Marik to follow. Assuming you can think, that is.

In the real world, Yami Bakura placed a small word on the table; R-I-N-G.

'Body stealer'? Really, hypocrite? I think otherwi-

Hypocrite? HYPOCRITE? I'll show you hypocrite, you ungrateful little-

Quite abruptly, Yami Bakura cut off his own attempt at spewing out some Marik-related abuse with a choking noise, distracted by the incredible sight before him. This, of course, was not a noise he usually made; but then again, he wasn't usually presented with a sight quite so enthralling, so magical, so...


You see, Chikan Marik appeared to be mutely glaring murder at him, then both him and Marik, two minds looking out of the same body as Marik's presence brushed up against his own. The pale teen folded his arms, looking from the man to the game board and back again, trying not to let the splendor of the situation get to him; though with the smell of victory so thick in the air, it was difficult not to feel a little intoxicated.

"Is that your move?" he asked after a moment, a faint smile tugging at the corner of his lip, a slight cockiness echoing in his voice. Chikan Marik only stared in reply, his gaze almost listless, blank; as though Yami Bakura was spouting gibberish - and wait a minute, maybe, just maybe, given what he spelled out...

A laugh bubbled inside the boy, but he held it in, even as Marik echoed his earlier question with his own mind, the answer coming to the other soul through what Bakura imagined was a mind link between the two of them.

He says that what he's got there will be his move.


"Then he must remove his letters, for that is not a word to be found in any dictionary", he sneered. It felt good to lecture like this, to tell someone that they were wrong and he was right; he hadn't done that in years, hadn't had the opportunity to. It felt so good to stand dominantly over someone - someone who had been a powerful foe at some stage, no doubt - and tell them that they were wrong.

Marik relayed this to the tanned teen, who merely grunted and shifted his own letters around; a far cry from the angry reaction the spirit had been hoping for. Still, he decided that this was good enough... well, for now.


"Not a word!", the pale teen barked, and the teen snarled nastily at the words his better part had translated for him, shifting his letters again:


Close, but no banana, Marik noted before Yami Bakura could mock Chikan Marik; the spirit responded with a little push and a little hiss.


"What kind of a word is that?", the demon growled, jumping in ahead of Marik's snarking this time and feeling a strong sense of triumph as he did so.


"Turning it backwards makes it no better," he purred, pleased with his taunt this time. Then, to the other soul: Why isn't he spelling anything?

I don't think he knows how to. Not without my memories.

"Of course... Only two days old. A baby." The young man's smile went wide, sharklike, as he eyed up the once-predator, now prey. "Let the Shadow Game begin, then... This should be over swiftly, for such a weakling as you."

Yes!, Marik crowed as the room became darker, black shadows weaving around the two of them like smoke; at first translucent, but soon pressing in on the two teens, becoming darker and darker, applying an odd pressure of sorts. Chikan Marik howled outrage, and Yami Bakura laughed in his face; laughed, because he knew he'd already won, and all that was left now was the kill; he would be sure to drag it out, too, seeing as it was such a certainty.

You don't mind your body being destroyed, I take it...?

Anything for my Anzu.


"Since you are in my house, I will apply a little house rule of mine - whoever loses, dies. Pity you don't remember that, or I could have said 'Sound familiar' - ah, well." He grinned like a maniac recently come into possession of a large chainsaw, his sides shaking with mirth for several seconds before he managed to continue. "This will be child's play... A fine hunt, and a fine revenge!"

And from the look on his prey's face, he guessed that Marik must have translated it all to him.


Revenge, in Yami Bakura's opinion, was always sweetest when your enemy could see it coming, and there was no way he could possibly escape from it.

It's safe to say that this revenge was looking pretty damn sucrose.

Author's Babble:

- Late chapter is laaate, because my USB decided to have a little fun with me.

- Summary got changed, because pizza. Category was also changed, because this is a wicked fic to try and categorize properly.

- This chapter is more much-needed plot development than anything else. But at last, we have a Shadow Game, two-maybe-three psychos, and a nice little match all set up and ready to go. So - place your bets on who's going to win/what's going to happen next, I guess...?

- I finally have an author insert. Sort of. Huzzah~