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

Nether Lands variation #2

by tsutsuji 0 reviews

Ryou is depressed after the end of the final game, but when he tries to end his life, things don't turn out as he planned. A suicide fic with a happy ending.

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 - 3139 words

Title: Netherlands
(Netherlands Variations #2 of 3)
Author: Tsutsuji
Fandom: Yu-gi-oh!
Rating: PG13 (for suicide attempt)
Characters: Yami Bakura, Ryou Bakura
Warnings: Suicide and blood. Angst. Shonen-ai, if you care to see it that way (male/male relationship). And Fluff, too, sort of. Based on the manga version of the story.
SPOILERS for the Ancient Egypt arc and the end of the manga.

Summary: Ryou is depressed enough to end it all over the outcome of the Memory World game, but things don't go as he plans. A suicide fic with a happy ending.

Disclaimer: Yu-gi-oh is copyright-owned by Kazuki Takahashi. I'm not Kazuki Takahashi.

NOTE: Based on my understanding of the Egypt arc which I still haven't seen or read all the way through.

This is not a continuation of "Final Move," it's an alternate version of the same general idea.


Once in a vision I came on some woods
and stood at a fork in the road,
My choices were clear yet I froze with the fear
of not knowing which way to go...
One road was simple, acceptance of life,
The other road offered sweet peace.
When I made my decision my vision became my release...
- Dan Fogleberg "Netherlands"

Ryou knew the moment the Game ended, although he was far away from the Museum. He'd been aware of every ticking second since Bobasa had sent him away, leaving Yugi and the others to enter the Memory World Game he'd known was waiting for them.

It was strange, he thought, that Bakura had let him be sent away. He'd done everything the Spirit had asked of him, and he'd been certain that Bakura meant for him to come along to see the final secrets revealed. But it grew in his mind while he waited that Bakura had hidden much from him, for all that they'd become so close, as close as two opposite souls in one body could become.

While he waited, Ryou had only slowly realized something he'd been denying to himself ever since Bakura had started to design the Memory Game in the hidden chamber of the museum: the Spirit of the Ring was going to challenge Yugi, and the loser of this Game would lose everything. And this was so much more than a game, even more than a Shadow Game.

Ryou felt himself hanging, suspended in the unknown between two terrible possibilities. Either Bakura would destroy the Pharaoh, Yugi's "other self," or the Pharaoh would prevail and destroy Bakura. There didn't seem to be any other choices.

When the Game ended, the silence in his apartment was nothing compared to the sudden total silence in his mind. Bakura was gone. He knew it as certainly as he knew where he was standing. The Spirit who had haunted him, sharing his body and entering his dreams, was suddenly and completely gone. The Ring was merely a cold, dim piece of gold with no meaning. And even though he'd been shut out of the game by Bobasa, he felt like a part of his own soul had ceased to exist as well.

A few days later he'd heard the story from the others, all he could bear to hear of it. His familiar mask of cheerful ignorance was frozen on his face as he listened to their tale of adventure and triumph. Only once he caught Yugi looking at him thoughtfully, as if he could see behind the mask, or maybe it was just the hidden sadness in Yugi's own eyes that Ryou saw.

A day later, he went home alone as usual and locked the door. He went to his bedroom and looked through the small pile of articles that had accumulated, things he'd found from time to time in his pockets but which didn't belong to him. Bakura's knife, the same one he'd used to prove his loyalty to Malik, was one of those things. He picked it out of the pile and took it with him into the bathroom.

Ryou sat down on the cold tile floor, his back against the full-length mirror. He thought of Bakura, imagining the scheming eyes that had occasionally looked back at him from the mirror. He turned around, but only his own soft brown eyes stared back from the mirror now. He sat back against it again, disappointed but not surprised.

"I'll find you," he said. He held up the knife and looked at its glittering, sharp edge.

He stopped cutting when the handle became slippery and sticky. He didn't really know what he was doing, but it seemed to be working anyway. He'd pulled off his shirt and made several small, neat cuts where the pendants from the Ring had hung against his chest. He'd given the Ring to Yugi, who had accepted it with a sad smile. Now all he had left to connect him to Bakura was this knife.

The knife suddenly seemed too heavy to hold; his fingers wouldn't work anymore. His head seemed terribly heavy as well. The room seemed to be fading, and he closed his eyes to it. Though his head and limbs felt like lead, he had a feeling that he was floating weightless in space.

Then suddenly the room came into focus again, but it was different. He was seeing it from above. The vision was sharp in every detail, including the body slumped in the corner in front of the mirror.

He turned away from it, leaving his body and his life behind.

There was no sense of direction, no up or down, but there was a Light, and there was a Darkness. He could sense his body still connected to him as if by a fine thread. The Light pulled at him like gravity, while his body seemed to tug him back in the opposite direction. But he floated toward the Darkness by choice.

Yes, there was someone waiting for him. A figure emerged from the shapeless mist through which he seemed to be swimming, and Ryou knew at once, with a certainty that he didn't question, that it was the one he was seeking.

This figure was tall and well built, muscled and tanned, with a scarred but handsome face. The hair and eyes and the feral mouth were familiar, but the rest was strikingly different. He'd never seen this man before, but Ryou knew him anyway. This was a form Ryou had sometimes sensed in their shared dreams.

Ryou never dared to look into Bakura's dreams too closely. They were so filled with cold rage, fire, and fear that they made him want to hide, huddled like a child in a safe corner. It had seemed to Ryou that there was an even darker Shadow lurking in those dreams, something that made the darkness of Bakura's spirit seem pale by comparison. He could sense that same Shadow deeper in the darkness he now faced. But between that and Ryou stood this presence that he recognized.

Ignoring the tug of his earthly body, Ryou spurred his weightless form toward the tall figure. Bakura hadn't yet noticed him. As he approached, the dark figure seemed to loom larger. For a moment Ryou was afraid that this would become one of those nightmare worlds, and that the darker Shadow would appear to engulf them both.

But as Bakura turned to face him, he knew at once that the blackness was gone. Bakura's soul was free of the horror it had been bound to in the ancient past. There was a sense of peace in his face that Ryou had never sensed in him before.

"I've found you!" Ryou cried, and his spirit rushed toward the other as if he really had the wings of the Change of Heart angel. Bakura's eyes widened, gleaming for a moment in surprise and relief. Then, as Ryou careened into him and wrapped him in a tight hug, the eyes narrowed again.

"I'm coming with you," Ryou said, muffling his face against the Egyptian spirit's neck.

A small part of him wondered how he could feel so solid, knowing that they were both only spirits now, but he didn't care. Relief and joy flooded him. He was only a little disappointed to find that he couldn't feel Bakura's presence inside himself. He'd grown used to hearing the spirit's thoughts in his mind and feeling his emotions.

Bakura tolerated his hug for a few seconds before pushing him away. Ryou looked up, smiling happily, but the spirit frowned at him.

"What's wrong?" Ryou asked. He suddenly felt afraid again, but he couldn't understand why. The deeper Shadow in the darkness had retreated, so what was there to be afraid of?

"What have you done, you idiot! Why are you here?"

"You..." Ryou stammered in confusion. He didn't want to say the words "You lost," in case it would somehow give the Shadow the power to take Bakura deeper into the darkness. "You didn't come back. I came here to be with you. I missed you."

Bakura gaped at him. Then his face darkened in an angry scowl.

"You chose to follow me into death? You did this?"

Ryou hadn't heard such a tone of anger in the spirit's voice since his one act of betrayal, back when they first met Yugi and the others. He'd never been angry with Ryou like that again. Ryou winced, but he didn't retreat.

"It was the only way I could think of to follow you," he said simply.

"What did you do? Where is our body?"

"There..." Ryou said reluctantly, letting his vision turn earthward. Bakura's gaze followed his to the sight of Ryou's body, lying still and cold on the tiles. The ice-white skin was a sharp contrast to the redness flowing from the self-inflicted wounds.

"No!" Bakura raged. "We need that body! You can't be dead!"

"I'm not yet, I don't think," Ryou said uncertainly. He checked; he could still feel the thin thread of life pulling him back, but it was much weaker now. He was almost completely free of it.

He'd wanted so much to be free, more than he'd even realized. He'd been so happy to find Bakura so quickly. But now, he was afraid. He still didn't understand what was wrong. He looked back at Bakura questioningly.

"Being alive was an essential part of the plan," Bakura said, with a scathing touch of sarcasm. "Didn't you get that?"

"Well, yes, but, the plan failed, I thought..." He finally had to say it, although the words came out very small. "You lost."

"Of course I lost! That was the point! More importantly, Akunadin lost, and Zorc's power was ended. Our pact was broken and I was free of him. You did know that that was the point, didn't you?"

Ryou thought hard about it, looking into Bakura's eyes, remembering the bits and pieces of the dreams and all that had happened. He remembered things he hadn't understood, and understood things he hadn't been able to remember.

The dreams had been clues, confused and shrouded because Bakura couldn't reveal his true purpose, even to himself. But Ryou saw it all now as neatly laid out before his eyes as the game world, with all the players in place, and Yugi the chief player.

"Yugi..." he said wonderingly.

"Yes," Bakura snapped. "Yugi, or rather Atemu, was the only one who could defeat the evil priest and his demon, and free me from the devil's bargain I'd made.

As the pieces of his own memory fell into place in Ryou's mind, Bakura continued.

"I thought I could use the power of Zorc to wreak my vengeance on the Pharaoh, but I soon realized I'd been blinded by my rage, and that I was being used as a pawn of the demon. Much later I realized that my rage against the Pharaoh was misplaced anyway, and that I'd aligned myself with the one I should have most wished to destroy. It wasn't until I became bonded with you and then met Yugi that I could conceive of a way to free myself and truly get my revenge. It was my intention all along that the Pharaoh should find his hidden power and win, and then I would be free of the demon, and free of the Ring."

Ryou's mind felt twisted, as if reality and memory were shifting inside him. Everything looked the same but it was all different. The meaning of every event was changed. Most troubling of all, he realized that he'd known this all along in some secret corner of his soul. And yet, even as he realized that parts of Bakura's deeply hidden plan had succeeded, he knew that something was not right.

"But, you didn't come back. Didn't you mean to?"

Bakura's answer was a single raised eyebrow. Of course he meant to live.

"What went wrong?"

"I didn't know about the Guardian of the Millennium Items. I couldn't get back, because that idiot Bobasa kept you out of the Game. Without the connection to your body, our body, I had no way to return to the living world. There was no time to change the plan, though, and if I'd hesitated when Bobasa sent you away, Zorc might have become suspicious of my true intentions in luring Yugi into the Memory World."

"Oh. Dear." Ryou pondered this. "Then... you went into the game knowing that if you lost, you wouldn't be able to come back without me?"

Bakura didn't answer. The cold, familiar anger in his eyes faded. All that was left was grief, and then that disappeared too.

Ryou realized that Bakura would disappear as well, unless he did something.

"What should we do? How can I bring you back?" he asked.

Bakura started in surprise at the question. Then he gave a short, humorless laugh.

"Well," he said, "to begin with, you have to stay alive. If it's not already too late for that," he added doubtfully, staring down at the ivory-pale vessel of Ryou's body. It now seemed very small and very far away.

"Well, then..." Ryou said doubtfully. "I'm not sure..."

He'd been about to say he didn't know if he could go back, but realized that in truth he wasn't sure he wanted to. He was tired of the pain of living, and he was with Bakura. Why should he go back?

Ryou hesitated, staring back at himself, but not seeing his near-lifeless form. Instead he was looking back at his short but empty life. He had his own secret desires, he realized, which he'd kept hidden even from himself, just as Bakura had done. He'd secretly longed to leave the world of the living and be free of his weak body, to search through the spirit world for those he loved who had left him. He'd only been afraid, deep inside his soul, that the search would be fruitless and that the afterlife was only an illusion. No one could assure him that he'd find the people he sought.

"You wouldn't find them here," Bakura said. Ryou didn't know if he'd actually heard his thoughts or simply guessed what he must be thinking. "They are far beyond this place. Although...." Bakura hesitated. He looked at Ryou strangely, and reached out to touch his face.


"You could follow them," Bakura said very softly. He glanced at the Light, but winced and quickly looked away again, back to Ryou. "If that's what you really wish for."

Ryou wasn't sure what he was saying. Did he mean that he would give up his chance to live again and let Ryou go? Was he giving Ryou the assurance he'd always wanted, to know that if he searched hard enough, he could find his sister again?

But if he went in search of her, would Bakura be able to follow him, or would he remain here? Or would he fade from life and memory completely?

He looked up at the Thief King. The thoughtfulness in those eyes was strange to see, much more disorienting than the shifting memories he'd just uncovered. Ryou blinked and shook his head.

"I'm going to bring you back with me," he said simply. He smiled at Bakura.

The former tombrobber looked back at him unsmilingly. He looked as if he was about to say something else, but no words came out, and Ryou couldn't hear his thoughts.

Ryou turned away, looking back at himself, feeling for his body's pull on his soul. It was faint, but not completely gone. The pull toward the Light was stronger, but even that wasn't as strong as the thread that bound his heart to Bakura.

"Come on," he said, and took Bakura's hand.

The spirit looked surprised at the touch, as if he hadn't expected to be able to feel anything at all. Then he gripped Ryou's hand and smiled his old scheming smile, but instead of their usual cold gleam, his eyes were warm.

Together they left both the Light and the Darkness behind them, and flew down the fragile line that held Ryou's soul to earth.


He felt all cold-warm, sleepy and yet alert, as he drew his eyes open. The light reflecting off tiles and glass was sharp and almost painful. He found he could move, lifting his head and then his body from where he'd been slumped in the corner, although gravity seemed to have become a stronger force than he remembered.

Ryou sat up and looked at himself in the mirror. His soft brown eyes stared back at him out of a shockingly pale face, and his skin was streaked with reddish-brown drying blood. But also in the mirror, there were sharp, ice-blue eyes in a tanned face looking over his shoulder. Warm, strong arms came around his shivering body from behind.

It wasn't just a reflection. Bakura was there behind him. He laughed weakly as he fell back against Bakura's solid body.

"You're alive!" he said, trying to smile.

"Yes, and more alive than you are at the moment," Bakura growled in his ear, gathering Ryou into his lap. "That will soon change. You'd better plan to stay alive, now that I'm here."

Bakura reached up and grabbed towels off the racks overhead, then wrapped them around Ryou's arms. Warmth flowed back into his body from Bakura's. He could feel both their hearts beating.

Ryou settled in Bakura's arms, feeling weary but content as strength slowly flowed back into him. He looked up at Bakura's scarred face as he realized something.

"You didn't really lose after all, did you? Things turned out the way you wanted them to, so that means you won. You defeated Zorc."

Bakura hugged him close. He shook his head, rubbing his chin on Ryou's hair.

"No, I didn't defeat Zorc," Bakura said. "But you did."

-- the end --
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