Golden Years
by Eternal SailorM
Disclaimers: Yuugiou is the property of Takahashi Kazuki.  I obviously do not own it since I'm not having money.
Dedications: To Katsuko, for enjoying the story, despite the angst.
Archive: DarkMagick(dot)net, DarkMagick eFiction Archive, FanFiction(dot)net, MediaMiner(dot)org, and AnimeRevolution(dot)net. Anyone else wanting it, please ask first. I'll probably say yes, but ask first.

There were so many horrible moments in his life that he couldn't pick just one to be the worst.  Being sealed in his Item was certainly high on the list.  The insanity that was his first few weeks free probably was as well.  The fear his Aibou felt of him during Duelist Kingdom and the majority of the time spent on Kaiba's Battle Ship still unsettled him.  But those were all becoming distant memories.  There were so many more recent ones.

There was the revelation his Aibou didn't feel the same way for him as he did.  There was the moment Aibou told him who he did love.  But they all dimmed to the day they realized he and the thief weren't getting any older, unlike their mortal counterparts, who were aging.  Oh, since Aibou looked a good deal younger than he was, they were able to pull off pretending to be brothers another ten years or so, till he was nearly thirty, before the difference became noticeable. 

Yes, that realization was the worst, that he would one day lose his Aibou to a disease he would never suffer from:  death.  Even when Aibou and his lover had refused, as politely as possible, to leave Kame Games when he'd had to leave Domino or risk being discovered didn't come close to comparing.

It didn't seem fair.  He'd waited for - longed for - the day he'd gain his own body, so he could be with his Aibou.  That Yuugi didn't want him that way never crossed his mind.  So he'd gone through all those trials to gain his own body and he succeeded - and Yuugi was in love with his best friend.  It wasn't fair that he was alone now and had been for so long.  How could it be fair?  Oh, he couldn't bring himself to be mad at the pair or anything, because they'd gone through so much to be together and were so good together, but he couldn't help the twinge of envy he felt every so often, even now.  Life just wasn't fair.

The RPG that had regained him his memories, in a strange way, had in turn contributed to the body he now resided in.  He'd walked through the gates, sure he was on his way to the Afterlife, when the thought came to his mind that he didn't want to leave his Aibou - and he walked through the next set of doors, back into the room where everyone was comforting Yuugi.  He wondered sometimes what the thief's wish had been, as he appeared through the doors only a moment after him.  No one had expected it, no more than they had expected to see the thief's nicer half run into his arms, sobbing in relief.  It was everything he'd wanted, the love of his mortal half - and the thief had it.

How was it the thief had everything he wanted?  His other half was completely devoted to him, forsaking all others; three years after their return, when their lack of aging began to become apparent, the white-haired pair had vanished, reappearing every few years.  Their visits had slowed in frequency as of late; according to Aibou's last letter, it had been seven years since he'd seen either of them.

Yuugi's last letter had also nearly begged him to come back, come home.  He'd been in America at the time when he got the letter and getting a ticket had taken some time.  He was sure Aibou had never truly forgiven him for only getting there in time for Jounouchi's funeral, but Aibou never mentioned it, never once in the two years he'd lived with them, pretending to be his great-nephew.

But here he was in the cemetery again.  There had been more people here than he'd thought Yuugi ever knew in his life.  All he could assume was they had been fans of the Game King.  The crowds had dissipated after a while, till it was just him standing before the grave.  And wasn't it supposed to be raining?  It was always raining in the movies on days like -

"So the half-pint's the only part of your gang still in Domino now, right?"

Only the thief could call someone of Mokuba's stature 'half-pint' and not sound like a complete idiot doing it.  He turned slightly to look over his shoulder to see the white-haired demon standing there, looking strangely subdued and somber in a dark suit.  For an inane few minutes, he couldn't help wondering if his lighter half was still dressing him.

Something must have shown on his face because the thief sent him a half-hearted glare.  "What?  I liked the midget well enough.  He was always nice to Ryou."

So it was 'Ryou' now and not 'yadonushi'?  When did that change?  Why did he care?  Why was the thief even here to begin with?  Better still, why was the thief being so damn nice to him?  There were too many questions to ask, so he made himself pick one.  "Why are you here?"

There was silent for a stretch of time, and he slowly turned his attention back to the name engraved on the stone before.  As the stillness stretched on, he glanced to the stone beside Aibou's.  It was good they were still beside each other, he supposed.

"Ryou died last year."  He whipped his head around to stare at the other man in shock, but the thief's eyes were locked on the fresh-turned earth at their feet.  "Malik tried to stay as long as he could, but I guess... he missed him, so he's gone now too."

"I thought you bound Bakura-kun to you."  He could have kicked himself for the words as soon as they left his mouth.  Obviously, he hadn't, if the white-haired man was dead now.  But... why?

"Just because the priest managed it with his other half doesn't mean we can - or that I'd do that to Ryou.  It nearly drove him nuts being away from Malik a week out of the year; I wasn't going to make him spend the rest of his life without the little desert rat.  Not even I'm that cruel."

Until now, he hadn't thought it was possible to offend the thief, but apparently he'd managed it.  So this was what happened when you didn't let your mouth consult with your brain before it took off on its own.  Still... Weirdness aside, what was the thief doing here?

"Why are you here, Bakura?"

The other's eyes narrowed sharply.  "Going deaf?  I said Ryou and Malik are dead.  Your 'Aibou' and the pup are gone.  Hell, the only ones still kicking are the half-pint, Seto, and the priest, and I'm not about to spend any quality time with the issue duo."

He was pretty sure Seth and Kaiba would take offense to the thief's newest name for them, but really he failed to care.  He was more concerned with what it sounded like Bakura was leading up to.  "And you'd prefer to send 'quality time' with me?"

He made a very vague shrug.  "Let me put it to you another way, since you seem to be getting slow in your old age."  Normally, this would be his cue to growl out something equally or more insulting, probably dealing with the fact Bakura was older than he was.  Right now, though, he was still curious and so just waited.  The thief grinned briefly and continued.  "Excluding the issue duo, who else is going to understand millennia of darkness?  Who else remembers the way life used to be?  And in a few years, who else is going to remember Ryou and Yuugi and the others?"

The bad thing was, he had a very valid point - several of them in fact, none of which he could readily dismiss.  They'd been on his mind off and on the past two years, especially in the last week since the day he'd closed the shop and gone upstairs to find his Aibou dead.  He looked - really looked - at the thief for the first time since they'd come back to life.  If he'd ever doubted Bakura cared for his other half, even as a brother, that doubt was now gone.  There was something in those eyes that told him, yes, the thief was mourning Ryou in his own way.

"And it's better than being alone."

Now he wondered if Bakura realized he'd spoken aloud.  There was a far-away look in his eyes.  But once again, he was right.  Even if his memories of the three thousand years imprisoned inside the Puzzle remained foggy, he still had come to hate being alone.  In the fifty years he'd been away from his Aibou, he'd done everything he could to avoid it, usually by having a roommate or two, though he'd been forced to seek more desperate measures before as well.  He'd visited the Kaibas every time they left Japan.  Hell, he had even gotten himself thrown in jail a time or two to escape being alone.  In a way, he supposed the thief had had it lucky - he had Ryou and Malik around to counter it.  But at the same time, that also meant he'd had to watch them growing older, dying, where he'd been spared most of that by being away from Yuugi.  Maybe it wasn't such a lucky break after all.

Still... he did have a point - and it wasn't like he couldn't leave whenever he wanted, if Bakura got too annoying or whatever else might come up.  And he didn't want to be alone either.  And he could be sure that, with Bakura around, he'd ever be bored; the thief was one of the few people who could consistently keep him on his toes.  And in a way, he admired the man, especially after the truth about Kuru Eruna began to come to light.  And, finally, he could think of no living soul he'd rather have watching his back.  There were probably a few other reasons, but none that he was ready to come clean on, even to himself.

Trying for the same nonchalance Bakura had affected, he replied, "Might as well.  It's better than trying it alone."

Bakura smirked.  "Good to hear."  He was silent for all of a minute before grasping his hand and starting to lead him out of the cemetery.  "So, I was thinking of kidnapping the half-pint while I was in town.  You know, for old times sake."

What had he gotten himself into?

04 April 2005

Yay!  Finally done!  I know it's not long, but it took forever to write.  I'm proud of it.