Fate: Meh. I'm tired and bored. Bad combination. I scribbled for a while in my journal, then decided to work on this idea that I was too lazy to put in the pending stories bit. I'll put up the epilogue to THSB...later. Tonight or tomorrow. Hold me to it, will you? I really want to write it. Just not now. I'm too angstyish.


Disclaimer: EEK! GET IT AWAY! Takahashi-sama can have it BACK! On with the fic, but I'm going to go hide now!



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I'm lonely.

Always very lonely.

Don't ask me why. It's not my idea. I didn't want to be lonely all the time, but I am. You know how it is. You must know. I can't fathom a world where you can keep your friends.

It's always the same for me. We're always moving, always changing something, twisting my world upside down and inside out until the only constants are that my distracted father is never home and the twisting pain of Amane stays with me even though she's gone. Oh, and the heavy sick weight of the Millennium Ring around my neck and the aching sorrow and futile rage of my darker always in my mind. He clings to me so tightly the world sometimes goes fuzzy and shadowy, but I don't mind. It's all I can do for him. It's all he'll allow me to do for him until he retreats into sullen silence.

My friends never talk to me after a few weeks of knowing them. They're bright and happy and cheerful and bring a bit of warmth into my stark pale life, but when I invite them home, they never talk to me again.

Never.

It's sad. I should really just give it all up. Stop being bright and cheerful and fake all the time, and just give in and be shy pallid Ryou. Give it up and crawl home and hide in the dark empty corners where echoes of me crawl and beckon, luring me into madness and a life of empty lust and need.

That life should disgust and repel me. It should make me spend hours in the sunshine, burning my skin golden-dark and bleaching my hair silver-white, bringing out the dark mahogany-red in my eyes that only shows up when I tan. It should force me to pour color into my monochromatic life and bring hope to my mind.

It shouldn't make me a pale shadow to match the lurking dark ones in my mind.

But, you know, it does. Pale and sinister and creepy and slithering, drawing ink sketches of the world with violent slashes of black on white, ripping page after page out of my sketchbook and throwing them to the floor as tears run down my face, drawing and drawing and drawing to find the beautiful life that isn't there.

My friends borrow my notes when they still like me. I see the worry and confusion on their faces from my doodles in the margins and in any unused corner of the paper. I'm clever, I guess, and I take notes quickly, so there's so much empty time while the teacher recaps what I've already learned and I keep thinking about myself and my false face and my empty mind.

I doodle the same way I draw. I draw the same way I live. For the public, I'm careful and well-bred and beautiful and perfectly accurate to the standards of society. For myself, I'm wild and raging and hurt and broken-down into pieces.

Life has no use for me except as a squeaky-toy. Kick me when I'm down, pile my fears on my head so I can't see the hopes, and curse me with coming face-to-face with my nightmarish dark side whenever I let my guard down. Literally.

I'm sure if I could keep my friends, I wouldn't have this trouble. I'd have people to stay with me when I just can't be happy, and people who'll have fun with me when all I want is to play, and people who could just be with me when I crave physical human contact like I never have anymore.

But they leave me alone and shattered after two or three weeks, as usual, and their sudden rift with me warns off all others, until I'm living by my schoolwork and sick from the endless crying alone at night. Then my father takes a good look at me sometime when we're together at home, me calling to my friends to please talk to me and only being rebuffed with silence. He hears me screaming to my darker self, screaming to come out and touch me, just so I know I'm real, and he finds me in hysterical tears, huddled by the mirror, drawing what I see instinctively with ink-stained hands, never taking my starved eyes off of myself in the silvered glass. He won't take me to a hospital or 'counsel' me, because although I'm a hindrance I'm still his, and I think perhaps he loves me when he remembers I'm there.

So he takes me away and moves me around, taking me abroad when he can manage it, bringing me back to Egypt where all his excavations are when he's just too afraid for me. Then my darker invades my mind and soul, reacting just as badly to this place as I do to my normal life, pale and shaking and searching for something to reassure him, but not even he knows what could satisfy him. He hunts restlessly throughout the night, going without food and sleep until my father thinks I'm getting sick again, and keeps me in the camp. Then he just sneaks out and roves around aimlessly in the desert at all hours, heedless of the cold at night or scorching sun in the day.

So off we go back home, back to the normal routine of friends and betrayal, of silence and choked tears and invisibility. He hates to have it happen to me when he realizes I'm incurable, and I would hate it if I knew there was something else for me to set it against. But there isn't, so I suppose I don't. I just go through the routine mechanically, then sit alone and stare at Amane's picture and call out to my silent friends.

I wonder, sometimes, if it's my fault that I'm so alone. My father spends all his time away, my mother left her children and husband without a word to any of us, my bright laughing sister died, my friends close me out once they become close enough to see me as I am, and my other self ignores me whenever he chooses.

It's enough to make you wonder if I'm paying for my darker's life of sin.

I brush away the tears streaking my ink-smudged face. I'm all in pieces again, and I don't think it'll be much longer until my father takes me away to the scorching land of Egypt once more. Then my darker will join me in my sick whirling world of madness as he looks and looks and looks for the world he left, where he had even royalty in the palm of his hand and he knew all the rules and all the loopholes and nothing could touch him. But now it's nothing but dust and sand and withered mummies in museums, finally beginning their descent into decay as those he considers heathens pull apart the bandages and look for ways to find out how the past ties into the present. It strains even him, who would loot and desecrate pharaohs and their tombs, to see this done. He doesn't understand 'in the name of science' as a goal or a joy like he understood money and power.

Things are changing too fast for him, and he's falling apart.

Things aren't changing enough for me, and I'm falling apart too.

I slash angrily at the paper before me, eyes fixed on the mirror as a shape appears from the darkness and slides down next to me, just outside my range of touch, as though I weren't really there.

"Tell me," I whisper. "Am I so invisible? Can no one hear me anymore?"

His eyes open slightly into cat-slits, glowing red like hot metal and blood and lust from under the lids and dark lashes that would hide their shining intensity. "I hear you. Always I hear you."

I look sorrowfully at my friends arrayed before me. "They don't answer me," I point out, throat choked with tears. "They don't answer me. I brought them home to be my friends forever and ever, and they don't talk to me."

He reaches out and touches two fingertips idly to my temple, the skin-to-skin contact as earth-shattering as it is comforting. "You should just give it up."

"I'll never stop crying," I say softly. "At least I can stop for a little, when I keep trying." I reach out and pick up one of the dolls before me, turning it over and over in my fingers. Its hair is memorable, all spiky and in three bright colors, but I can't remember the name.

"You never stop crying," he says meditatively, sliding his hand down over my jaw to my throat, and from there onto my pulse. I swallow and he smiles, his eyes opening fully at last. "Not even when your friends are here forever with you."

"They don't answer me," I whimper. "They don't like me except for my fake face, and I can't keep it up for so long."

He takes the doll from my fingers and moves his hand again as I crumple in front of the mirror to the floor, sobbing helplessly. I can feel his hand on the back of my neck, uncertain but drawn to me anyway, and I can hear the angry snap as he breaks the doll of a would-be friend who never speaks, just like all of them.

Plastic pings on the floor as he tosses the pieces away one-handed. "You never stop crying," he breathes in my ear, and all the shadows and madness and insane lust that he personifies lulls me to a brief moment of peace in which I can lose myself.

"It's why you love me." The words flow truthfully, unbidden, from my bitten lips.

"You never stop crying," he repeats wonderingly, and the darkness envelops and silences me and my aching soul.



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Fate: ...yeah. I'm playing with Bakura making all Ryou's friends into dolls for him to 'have forever' and whose brilliant idea it really was for him to so that. And I'm half-asleep and I have really weird nightmares, so it's prime angst time. Yay me. And I'm too tired to deal with Duel and the Ferret, so humor me and review so I have a nice surprise when I'm properly awake. *is knocked unconscious by the explosion*