So who else is tired of the same fluff fraught with typos and dub names? –counts raised hands- Right, then.

Be warned now that this fic will probably turn out to be one of the darkest and most serious things dealing w/Yu-Gi-Oh ever written, and will most likely sound like something straight out of a psychological thriller. I originally wrote this in 2003, so I apologize in advance if some of the writing comes across as shoddy and childish. I've been periodically going through and revising every now and then, too, so forgive me if the writing style shifts dramatically from chapter to chapter if you stumble upon one I haven't fixed yet. Most "errors" in the Yu-Gi-Oh continuum are a story-based stylistic choice, since this story is most definitely AU.

Anyhoo, if you think you're up for it, continue reading.


Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh copyright Kazuki Takahashi

Warning: Mature themes, abuse, implied rape, foul language


Mou Hitori no Boku: Zankoku na Kuragari

The Other Me: Cruel Shadow


Have you ever wondered what it's like for people unfortunate enough to grow up with violent parents? What they must feel when they hear their mothers and fathers fighting late into the night? The pain they go through when their parents decide to take their anger out on them as well as each other?

What about the sense of relief that overcomes them when they learn they're going to be taken away from such conditions, only to suddenly find them there again? Taking their rage and hate out on them again... When they've barely had time to adjust?

I don't. I don't need to... I know exactly what it's like.

I know all too well of the heavy sadness, the constant ache for solace. The shock of terror that leaves you breathless as enraged shouts break the peaceful silence, and the urge to break down and cry from the unfairness of it all.

I'm not the only one. My best friend has to deal with it every day. His mother and younger sister live far away, so there's no one to help him when things turn ugly. Instead, he tries his best to avoid going home when his father is in one of his moods; hanging out with friends or wandering the lonely streets in the dead of night.

I know I should be more empathetic, but I can't help but envy him. He, at least, can try avoiding his problems. I can't. Sure, the dark days with my parents are long gone; my Dad forgotten while Mom and I live with her father, but they aren't the ones hurting me anymore, and I can't escape the one who does. He lives within me, wresting control whenever he pleases and banishing my consciousness to the dark corners of my mind. Instead of damaging our body, he chooses to attack where no one can see, and there is no proof of his crimes or his existence... He attacks my very soul...

He's fighting me right now, actually. He wants to come out and destroy Ushio for injuring his vessel.

Ushio is one of the main bullies in our school, though he's supposed to be Hall Monitor. He beats me up regularly since I'm shorter and weaker, but somehow I always heal easily and endure the pain without crying as much as his other victims, so he targets me out of spite. After years of abuse, it's no wonder why I take pain better than others- I'm just used to it by now. He'd beaten me up earlier today, and now my darkness wants to exact revenge for bruising his host's body.

I tried my hardest to keep control, but he dragged me into my mind, where our spirits are separate and no one is in control of our body. He struck me for my disobedience, knocking me to the stone-like floor. I winced, clutching my reddened cheek, and looked up at his intimidating form. His scowl deepened.

//You dare to gaze upon the pharaoh, you worthless peasant?! Lowly servants do not lift their heads unless instructed to do so! Nor do they deny the pharaoh anything! For your impudence, you shall be severely punished...// he stated coldly, and a familiar weight wormed its way into my stomach.


~*~


I woke in my body the next morning, and a feeling of dread came over me. What had he done last night? At some point I must have fainted, and he'd most likely taken control and sought out Ushio...

I sighed, hearing Mom call through the door. I suppose I'll just have to find out when I get to school... That's the thing with kids our age- nothing happens without our knowing it. As soon as someone hears or sees something, the whole school knows by first period. I just hope he didn't do anything extreme...


~*~


As I reached the front gates of the high school, I noticed a large crowd of students huddled around something under one of the trees. Curious, I made my way over and asked the nearest person what everyone was staring at. All chatter ceased. They turned to look at me, some backing away while others glared, anger and hatred in their eyes. One of them approached me, fury twisting her painted lips into a snarl. She lashed out at me, sharp nails raking across my cheek, and I fell back onto the wet grass.

"What do you mean, 'what happened'?! You're the one who did this!" she screamed, pointing to whatever they had been looking at.

My heart stopped. He had done this...

I swallowed thickly, taking a deep breath, and rose, turning my gaze to whatever my darkness had left of Ushio. To my surprise, he was unharmed, but the rush of relief I felt was short lived. His eyes were glazed over, tongue lolling about as he ran his hands through a pile of leaves, ignoring his fellow gang members as they tried to get him to snap out of it. He was gone.

I fell to my knees, blinking back tears as I stared at Ushio's empty shell. /You bastard… What did you do to him...?/

A dark chuckle echoed through my mind, followed by the smug voice of the dark spirit. //I repaid his debt in full.//

His laughter sent a chill down my spine, and I let my tears fall.

"I- I couldn't stop him... He got to him anyway... If only I wasn't so useless…" I whispered, clenching my fists as my tears disappeared into the moist earth. "How can you be so cruel?"

The others stepped back, surprised by my actions. Why would the criminal cry for the victim? Those who were close enough to hear me fixed me with a wary, puzzled gaze. Who was I talking about? I wish I knew...

He calls himself Pharaoh, and once resided a strange golden puzzle from ancient Egypt. When I put the puzzle together, he suddenly emerged from the deep recesses of my mind. After the first beating he'd given me, I'd tried to get rid of him by taking apart the puzzle, but found that with every piece I dismantled, a part of my soul was ripped away with it. The pain was too much to bear, so I was forced to restore it.

After recovering, he'd immediately thrown me to the ground, and said that if I ever tried to do something like that again, he would treat me to something worse than death. I really don't want to find out what he meant by that.

Needless to say, I never tried to get rid of him again, no matter how often he hurts me. I'm stuck with him, and no one can help that. I just wish he'd be kinder... or at least not hit me as hard as he does...

//Perhaps if you obeyed your Pharaoh, he would have no need to punish you.//

The bell rang, sparing me from doing something stupid like shouting at him in public and incurring his wrath. Shakily, I rose from the ground, trudging solemnly to my first period class. I hope Jonouchi decided to come to class today... I just can't keep this to myself anymore.