Categories > Anime/Manga > Yu-Gi-Oh! > Nether Lands variations 1 & 2

Final Move

by tsutsuji 0 reviews

Two variations on what should have happened to Bakura and Ryou after the end of the Memory World game. shonen ai, B/R implied. rated for suicide attempt

Category: Yu-Gi-Oh! - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Ryou Bakura, Yami Bakura - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2006-05-03 - Updated: 2006-05-04 - 2227 words

Title: Final Move
(NetherLands Variations #1 of 2, so far)
Author: Tsutsuji
Fandom: Yu-gi-oh!
Written: September 2004
Pairing: suggested Bakura/Ryou shonen-ai
Rating: 13. Kinda dark and angsty.
SPOILERS! - major spoiler for the end of the Ancient Egypt arc in the manga. (As if you couldn't guess who wins.)
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-gi-oh! or these characters. But if Takahashi is really done with Bakura, I'll gladly take charge of him....

(Author's Notes: I wrote this after only seeing a few scenes in scanlations from the end of the Egypt Arc, so I was missing a few crucial bits of information at the time. I stand by it anyway because I'm so annoyed with the way things turn out for Bakura. This is not a sequel to my story "Nether Lands" but an alternate version of Life After The Manga Ends.)

Nether = below, so Nether Lands = the lands below, the underworld...


Off in the nether lands I've heard the sound
Like the beating of heavenly wings
And deep in my brain I can hear a refrain
Of my soul as she rises and sings
Anthems to glory and anthems to love
And hymns filled with earthly delight
Like the songs that the darkness
Composes to worship the light.

--Dan Fogleberg, "Netherlands"


Yami Bakura lifted his head from the table with an effort. Yugi, the Pharaoh, and the others were gone... the Game was over. There was a taste of dust and sand in his mouth, and a dead silence in the tomb-like room. Silence settled like dust over the pieces of the Memory World game, tiny lifeless pieces scattered on the table before him.

He wondered why he was still here, still aware of this place. It was over. He was severed from the Ring, cut off from all power, and his link to his host was ended. The rage and hatred that had been his strength for so long had grown dim, faded as his memories, their fires burnt out in the game. The power in his soul had been wrenched from his control, leaving him with nothing. He was only vaguely aware of himself and his surroundings, and even that awareness was fading. He was going blind and deaf in the dark, dusty silence....

But he felt something, a stirring of air against his skin. Strange that he could sense anything, but he found himself looking around with eyes that should have been dead and sightless to see what had disturbed the dust of the tomb.

There was a strange brightness there beside him, and it focused his vision, bringing his other senses back as well. Someone had appeared standing beside his chair. He looked up and realized it was his host who stood there beside him, looking across the table at the scattered, broken pieces of the game. Before he could say anything Ryou turned away from the game and knelt by his chair, looking up at him expectantly.

"What do you want?" he growled, surprised to find that he had a voice.

Ryou blinked at him in surprise, seeming puzzled by the question. Bakura noticed without surprise that he no longer had the Ring.

"The Ring is now in the hands of the Pharaoh," he said, knowing this with certainty, though Ryou hadn't said so. "Or rather, in Yugi's hands, I suppose. At any rate, I can no longer use its power. Our link is severed. You have no reason to be here."

"No." Ryou shook his head. "It's true, I gave the Ring to Yugi. But you are still here, in me."

Bakura stared at him. "You're free of me. Go away. I have no use for you anymore."

Again Ryou shook his head. "You're wrong," he insisted in his soft voice. "It's you who are free now. Free of those whose power you wanted to use, but they used you instead."

"What are you talking about?" Bakura snapped. Actually he knew exactly what Ryou was talking about, his arrangement with Zorc, made in his lust for vengeance that had consumed him for so long... but he was surprised to hear Ryou speak of it. "What can you possibly know of it?"

"I know everything, now."

Bakura stared into those guileless brown eyes a moment longer, wondering. He'd always only let Ryou know what he wanted him to know of his plans and motivations, guarding himself even when his own memories and understanding were not clear to him. How could this innocent fool know it all? And if he did, how could the innocence still be there in his eyes?

But it was there still, unsettling in its purity, and yet there was something else, something Bakura did not want to see. He gave a harsh laugh.

"If you understand it all, then you would know what it means to have lost this game. I've lost everything. My soul has no place in the world now. I said once that I am the Darkness, and now that is all that I am. There is nothing else left."

"No," said Ryou, again softly insistent. "Your soul still has a home inside of me."

Bakura looked hard into the face of his host, his other self. The idiot would let him back in, even knowing all that he knew? Why? It made no sense. The boy was an even greater fool than he'd always thought.

Then he suddenly remembered the lonely boy he'd found when his spirit awakened within the Ring to find he had a new host, a boy who looked so much like the child he'd once been - yet not so alike, because Ryou's eyes had never seen the things he'd seen as a child.

But now he had. As Bakura had looked through Ryou's eyes in the modern world, now Ryou had seen through his eyes, seeing Bakura's memories played out in the game.

That wasn't supposed to happen.

"You - you weren't supposed to be a part of this. You weren't allowed in. How did you get here?"

Ryou blinked, his eyes gleaming. "I don't know, really."

Bakura thought about it. Ryou had been sent away by the Guardian of the Millennium Items, not being judged pure enough to enter with Yugi and the others. It didn't matter to him at the time, but now he realized how strange it was. No doubt the guardian had detected his own presence in Ryou's soul. But perhaps now that the link was broken, that soul was shining brightly enough to be allowed into this magically protected space. But there was no longer a guardian. There was nothing left here to protect. It still made no sense.

Ryou spoke softly, eyes lowered. "I wanted to help Yugi, really, and I hated being sent away from my friends. But the real reason I wanted to follow them into the memory world was because of you. I wanted to know the truth. But besides that..." His voice dropped to a whisper. "I didn't want to lose you again. I think that's why I wasn't allowed in."

Bakura realized at once that, however unlikely this sounded, it was true. It was also how Ryou had found him now, in the shambled remains of the game. How else could he be here?

"You are a fool, Bakura Ryou," he said in a low voice. Ryou looked up, eyes gone wide at the spirit's use of his name. "There is nothing here for you. Go back to your world of friends and daylight. I go to the Shadows, where I belong. My spirit is destined to fade to nothing, and be forgotten."

He spoke without the bitterness and weariness he felt, his voice a low chant, but it was as if he said an incantation that had no power. Ryou only shook his head slightly.

"My soul will not forget you, Bakura," he said. "Come back with me."

The tomb robber shivered, wondering at the effect Ryou's words had on him, words said innocently, words of a lonely, foolish boy said to empty shadows. He wanted to laugh, in defiance of the dark as he had always done, but all the power he had sought to use in the dark, against the dark, had been lost.

He gazed down at the game table, then at the walls of the tomb which seemed as substantial as smoke. He was starting to fade, his senses going blind again. There was nothing left for his spirit to hold onto.

"I can't go back. I lost."

His voice was just an echo in the shadows. He wanted to chide the boy, speak harshly to him one last time for his useless sweet foolishness, for his lonely pain, his innocence, his lightness of spirit... but he couldn't. He didn't have the strength left. He looked down at Ryou who was still kneeling by his chair, now just a dim vision. The dark eyes looked up at him, and there was a strange gleam in them that cut through the haze of his fading spirit.

"Then I'll go with you into the darkness," Ryou said fiercely.

"Fool!" he said, finding the strength to laugh at his other self after all. This was absurd beyond belief. Stranger still, he seemed to see tears in Ryou's eyes. Tears... for him?

No one had ever cried for him, not even he himself had cried over his fate since the day when horror seared his eyes.

"Ryou?" he said in wonder, still wanting to laugh at the boy's foolishness, but suddenly he was afraid. He didn't know why. What was left for him to fear? Ryou's tears....

He reached down, and as his finger touched the wet skin of Ryou's face, at the same moment Ryou's hand took hold of his wrist. They had never touched before. How could they, being two spirits in one body? How could this be?

The look on Ryou's face and the firmness of his grip on Bakura's wrist... Bakura had only seen that fierce determination on his other's face once before, when Ryou had defied him to save his friends. He'd been startled then by the strength of Ryou's will, but it had never come to the fore since then, and he'd forgotten what he should have remembered all along - that the will of Bakura Ryou to save those he cared for was stronger than any magic.

Bakura touched Ryou's face, then looked at his own finger, gleaming wet with Ryou's tears. Feeling this and seeing it, his senses sharpened, and he felt some strength return.

He stood up, pulling Ryou up with him. They stood face to face, his hand still on Ryou's cheek. He could feel the warmth of Ryou's flushed skin beneath his fingers. Ryou reached up with his other hand to touch Bakura's cheek as well, studying him intently.

"Thief King Bakura," he said softly, fingertips tracing the scarred lines.

Bakura realized that he'd changed, his spirit taking on the form of his living body long ago. It was strange... he'd been in Ryou's body so long that even when he'd remembered and seen his past, it was as if he didn't know what he once looked like. It had been as if it was someone else who had lived in the harsh desert world, drawing strength from that harshness. As much as he had at first despised its weaknesses, Ryou's body had become home to him. But as his old self, he was taller and stronger than Ryou, although while he used Ryou's body he'd had all the power of the Ring at his disposal.

Now, he realized, all strength and power was in Ryou. It was Ryou holding him here, although the terrible formless darkness called to him. It pulled at his soul like a gusting wind, and only the touch of Ryou's hand and the light in his eyes kept him here in this semblance of a body.

But was that enough? If he took Ryou's hand now and used the power in their connection, power that Ryou had in abundance and was offering so freely, would it be enough to pull his spirit free of the shadows? The game he'd lost was one of ancient magic, and he was bound by the rules of it. He'd offered everything, his soul and spirit and heart, in his quest to avenge his family and his village, and he'd lost it all. Nothing could change that. If he took Ryou's hand, would Ryou be sucked into the darkness along with him, a fitting reward for the willing sacrifice of his innocence? But Ryou would not let go.

Bakura looked into the melting brown eyes, and into the warm light of Ryou's soul, and suddenly, it didn't matter. Didn't matter that it didn't make sense, didn't matter that he was powerless and had nothing, because none of that mattered to Ryou.

"Bakura Ryou," he said, in his own old voice that sounded like and unlike Ryou's own, "It is your soul's choice. Let the winds of darkness or of light take us where they may."

He knew he had no real power here, no control over this magic. It was indeed Ryou's own choice that would decide both their fates.

Ryou smiled. He took both Bakura's hands in his own, squeezing them, warm and pulsing with life, and /pulled/....

(variation #2 follows in chapter 2)
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