DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This takes place before the Duelist Kingdom part of the series, when Yugi and Ryou had no knowledge of their darker halves' existence.
Something wakes me from my sleep and I sit up, instantly alert. I listen and can feel myself scowling when I realise what has woken me.
The sound of his sobbing echoes faintly through the room. I rise and go to the door, flinging it open. The crying is louder now, but the hallway is empty, as always. He never comes out of his room. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows this hallway is here.
I stride to his door and reach for the handle, but something makes me hesitate. What is this strange feeling? Why is my heart pounding so hard in my chest? I want to open the door. I want to snarl at him to stop that pitiful crying. I want to yell at him to stop being so weak. I want to grab him and shake some sense into him.
Can't he see it's not worth crying over? Tears never change anything. I learned that lesson a long time ago. Even if they did, there's no one to see them. Not out there. Not in here. No one except me.
The thoughts tumble through my mind as I stand outside his door. I shake my head to clear it and curse myself for wasting time. Determination floods through me. My heartbeat quickens as I turn the handle. I mean to slam the door open, but at the last moment something makes me cautious. I ease it open instead, feeling like a fool. Then I see him and all my thoughts and doubts leave me.
He's lying on his bed. His chest rises and falls slightly as he breathes, but other than that he is still. His eyes are closed. He's sound asleep. As usual, he's worn himself out with his crying. He looks so peaceful. A sleeping angel. What does that make me?
I move into his room with my usual skill and silence. He doesn't stir. I stand by his bed and stare down at him for a moment. Half of me hopes he keeps sleeping. The other half wishes that he'd wake. He never has before. How many times have I stood like this? Too many to remember. I sigh and he stirs, but he does not wake.
I'm surprised to see my hand reaching out to brush his hair off his face. I don't mean to do it, but it's done before I can stop myself. His hair is soft against my trembling hand and I can't help but lightly stroke the silky strands. He stirs and I immediately pull away, horrified at my actions. What am I doing? How could I ever explain it if he woke? My heart pulses almost painfully as I wait to see if he settles again. When he does, I know my secret is safe. This time. But there's certain to be a next time. There always is.
As I slowly back away towards the door, I silently curse the man for doing this time after time. Doesn't he know how much his leaving hurts the gentle soul he always leaves behind? Doesn't he care that the boy spends so much of his life alone?
Reaching the door, I start to leave but pause in the doorway. My eyes are drawn to the sleeping boy and I sigh softly as I reflect on the ultimate irony of the situation.
Although I curse the man for being away so much, it is because of his travels that I am here. Sometimes I wonder if he knows about me. If that is why he did what he did.
When he brought the strange artifact back from Egypt and gave it to this boy, did he know that his actions would mean that this lonely child would never be alone again?
Shaking my head at the fanciful thought, I turn and go. The door closes behind me with a soft click that echoes loudly in the silent hallway. I return to my own room and drop onto my bed. I close my eyes, but I know I will not sleep.
My soul room is as cold, still and silent as a tomb, but my mind is a chaos of thoughts and emotions. One in particular refuses to stay unvoiced. I whisper it into the silence, not daring to speak aloud even though I know he cannot hear me. He never hears me.
"Don't worry, Ryou. Father may have left again, but you're not alone. You're never alone. I'm here. You just don't know it yet."