Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-gi-oh! If I did, then I would be in the Bahamas right now instead of studying for my Bachelor's. :p

A/N: I have no idea where this came from, so please don't ask. It came to mind one night when I was suffering from insomnia thanks to my annoying cat Icarus a.k.a. Baka Jr. All I can say is that it's a twisted version of how things began and where they went from there. If it makes sense to anyone, then please e-mail me, because I certainly don't understand it. -.-;

Ignorance is Never Bliss

A long time ago, when I was sitting alone in my room nursing the bruises that I had gotten that day, I wished for friends. You know, the usual thing that everyone wants at some time or another. People who would stand by me during the tough times, people who would accept me for who I was, people who would just help me stay alive whenever I had to face the torture that was life itself.

That was something I wished so often, that I finally put my faith into it coming true when I completed the Millenium Puzzle. This had been a gift from my grandfather when I was seven years old and something that I had spent eight years attempting to solve. More than once I had been met with frustration and was tempted to give up, but I never did. I kept pushing myself until finally, after so long, I completed the one thing that had stumped scholars for nearly five millennia.

Upon placing the last piece into its setting, the eager anticipation that had felt was met with a golden flash of light that left me blinded for a time. When it cleared and the spots dancing in my vision disappeared, I was met with an even stranger sight. Someone new was standing in my room, someone who looked remarkably like me.

He had the same crimson, ebony, and gold star-shaped hair as I did, only with a few extra lightening shaped bangs that I lacked. The same blue and black leather outfit that I preferred to wear, right down to the metal buckles that I wore around my neck and hands. He was taller than me though, as most everyone I knew was. And his eyes were hardened crimson, while mine were an innocent amethyst that couldn't help but stare at him with awe and shock.

As I stood there staring, he reached out a hand towards me. If I had thought anything about it, I would have backed away instantly. After all, this was not someone that I knew, no matter how similar in appearance we were. But I didn't, and he was allowed to touch my cheek with one of the gentlest caresses that I had ever know. One that I might have melted into if fear still didn't have a hold.

"Exquisite," he had murmured," Absolutely exquisite."

He continued stroking my face for who knows how long, his crimson eyes examining every angle of my form. Still in deep shock from the stranger's sudden appearance, I made no effort to try and stop him. Instead, I just stood there in the middle of my room with a true doppelganger caressing me and, though I didn't know it, appraising what stood before him.

Eventually, I managed to push enough sense into my mind to realize that I needed to know who he was. That was a reasonable enough question to me. I mean, it wasn't every day that a person comes face to face with a twin who appears after a golden flash of light. So I asked him, albeit in a stuttering whisper, who he was and why he was there. The answer that he gave me was the last thing that I ever expected to hear.

"Why hikari, don't you know your own darkness when you see him?" he laughed, his voice rich and deep with mirth and power," I'm your other half, the one sworn to protect your light and to help you through this world. It's why the Puzzle came to you, as it was your destiny to solve what no one else could. We were meant to be together for eternity."

It was hard for me to understand just what he meant. I also had no idea how he could be my darkness, why he called me hikari or what he had to do with the Puzzle that I had spent eight years trying to solve. Yet, somehow, I knew that everything he said was true. I knew that this stranger, my so- called darkness, was indeed there for some purpose. If it was to protect as he claimed, that remained to be seen.

"There's no need to doubt what I say, young one. I am here to protect you," he said, now taking me into his arms," I wouldn't lie about something like that."

His words sounded so sincere that I couldn't help but believe them with every fiber of my being. And maybe somewhere deep inside, I really wanted this dark one's promise to be true. Maybe in this person, I would be able to find the friend that I had spent so many years longing for and maybe have a better chance in life. Maybe he really was the one I had been waiting for.

"That's right, aibou," he had whispered as his embrace tightened," I'm here to be everything that you've ever desired in life. Nothing will ever harm you again while I am here."

It would take me awhile to realize that we now shared a mind link that allowed him to know my every thought. But he was well aware of it and was going to take full advantage of this knowledge. Something that would serve him well in the months to come as I too began to learn just what I had unwittingly unleashed upon an unsuspecting and totally unprepared world.

After that night, he never left my side. During the times I was in the company of others, like at school or home, I never saw his physical presence. Instead, I felt it in the back of my mind as he used my eyes and ears to explore the world while he remained in the confines of the Puzzle. At other times, he would take over my body and interact with the world when he felt that the situation became too dire for me to deal with.

This became more frequent as time went on, soon coming to the point where I was no longer allowed to control my own body. Instead I spent my time locked away in a room that I learned was my soul room, a place that was supposed to reflect my innermost personality. It was also supposed to be place where I might find some sanctuary from my other half, but even that was too much to ask for.

At all times, he knew exactly what I was doing while he was in the physical world thanks to our mind link remaining constantly open. Just as I, unfortunately, was aware of what he was doing. As is often the case, there turned out to be more to my darkness than I had first suspected. For starters, he was no mere spirit who had been sealed away in a golden relic. He was actually the spirit of an ancient Pharaoh who had once used his power to control the entire known world with an iron fist.

That control had been lost when he was betrayed by his high priest and a tomb robber who helped to seal his soul into the golden Puzzle that would one day come into my hands. It had been their hope that as long as he remained trapped within the confines of a Puzzle that no one could solve, then he would no longer be a threat. And for 5 millennia, that theory proved to be true. That is, until I came along and solved what I had assumed was a simple trinket given to me by my grandfather.

Now, after waiting for so long, the Pharaoh was ready to regain what he had lost and he was going to use me in his quest. Needless to say, I had no real say in the matter. Whatever I might say or do to persuade him from this dangerous course, he never listens to me. He merely finds these actions amusing and goes ahead with what he has planned.

More than once just what he has planned has given me nightmares. Every detail is methodically etched out to the fullest, no possibility of failure allowed into the scheme. Each part has purpose, working in a way that one might see as either the finest art or the utmost insanity. Victims of his schemes are chosen with precision, their punishment or reward handed out according to their own actions.

There have been many unfortunate souls who did not deserve to be caught up within the schemes of him. Many of them had been people that I cared for when my life was still semi-normal. My mother and grandfather, the only real family that I had left in the world, the ones who had raised me from infancy to my teenage years. They saw me through many of life's hardships, offering me advice and lessons that helped to make me a little stronger than I would have been on my own.

They were two of the strongest people that I ever knew, but not enough to save themselves. They were among the first that he took finished off when his bid for power began to extend beyond the small areas that he had already reclaimed for his empire. I do not remember exactly what happened to them, as he has wiped my memory of that time. But I do know that they suffered long and hard for challenging him once they had learned of his existence.

The same fate befell Anzu, a girl that had been one of my only friends while growing up and someone that at one point, I thought that I loved. She too was destroyed, her long piercing scream as her soul as torn from its mortal shell and cast into the bowels of the Shadow Realm. Jonouchi and Honda, two boys who used to beat me up but who later became my friends. Both are also gone to the Shadow Realm, lost alongside millionaire Seto Kaiba when he challenged my darkness to a duel and lost.

There are so many names and faces on the list of those who he killed through the years that I have lost count. I only know that there are many of them and that there is nothing I can do to help them. For I am truly alone in this world, unable to help either others or myself out of a misery of my own making. Just the way he wants it, as it keeps him in power and the world under his thumb.

Despite everything that he has done, there is one promise that he has kept. When he first appeared and claimed to be my protector, he meant every word. He has protected me from everything that he considers threatening in the world. Those that threatened me in the past, their screams now echo endlessly across that vast wasteland known as the Shadow Realm. Those that betrayed my trust and broke my heart are now spending eternity serving as playthings for the Duel Monsters that serve him.

Yet, like everything in life, the vengeance made on my behalf has come at a greater price than I thought I would have to pay. For every person that he has sentenced to the Shadow Realm, their screams echo in my dreams every night as a reminder of what my helplessness led to. For every person who now serves as mere toys for the Duel Monsters, I must add another life to the list to those whose worth is little better than filth.

To know all this is part of the price that I must pay for helping to destroy the world. The rest is that I no longer have any freedom beyond what he allows me and that is minimal at best. Most of the time, I am confined to a set of rooms that others would call a penthouse suite but what I have come to call my cage. A fitting enough description in my opinion, since like a bird or a hamster, I must remain trapped here until my Master sees fit to release me at his whim.

Unlike the cage of a pet, there is a great deal of what others might consider the best comforts to be offered as I have been given the equivalent of paradise in the material sense. Nearly every room has puzzles and games littering their floors, all for occupying my time when I am alone, with one place set aside for me to eat the best possible food available. Every wall has posters of Duel Monsters from the game, mostly of what had once been my favorite card, the Dark Magician.

With all these things, even with the circumstances surrounding how they came into my possession, one might think that I have at something in life to be content about. Anyone who was tired of so much destruction certainly would have used it as a method of escape from the turmoil. For better or for worse, I am not one of those people. There is only one thing that I desire above all else.

That single wish is to know death's sweet release. At this point, I don't care how it happens. Death can come with as much or as little pain as fate sees fit. Either way, I will relish in the ecstasy that comes from experiencing something that I have longed for ever since my life faded from a constant nightmare to a pure hell.

This is something that he knows about since I make no effort to hide it whenever he scans my thoughts. I want him to know that regardless of what he claims was done to save me, I absolutely despise what his methods have made my life into. Many would call me insane for taunting the wrath of one who could shatter both mind and soul, but I really don't give a damn anymore. I want to tempt him, because if I do, maybe one day he will slip and actually kill me like so many others.

The really sad thing is that no matter how much I might hope for this, there's no real chance of it happening. Because I know that out of everything in the world, that the one thing I want the most is the one thing that he will always deny me. For he knows that if he kills me, then he will destroy himself. After all, we are two halves of the same soul and without each other, there is no hope of existence.

This very concept is probably the most sadistic trick that fate has played upon at this point. For it works both ways. As long as one of us exists, then we both shall. And through this, I have been made an immortal like he is, but only a point. Like him, I will live forever but I was born mortal so can still be slain. He will only die if I am killed, another reason why he has locked me away and keeps such close watch over me.

To prevent me from thinking in suicidal terms, I am to keep my mind open to him so that he knows my thoughts and like a little child, I am not allowed to have anything sharp in my possession. There is also a spell on me that prevents me from attempting to drown myself in the sauna where I am bathed or from jumping out the single open window that I am allowed to have in my room.

A sharp pang in my mind tears me away from my reminiscing and brings me back to the present. He's coming now, I can feel it. There's no sound to herald his arrival since shadows don't make noise. But I can tell that he's coming just by the aura of power and fear that's radiating outside the only door to my cage. Time has taught me how to recognize that much at least, as well as what to expect when he enters this last little corner that remains to me.

It was very easy for me to sense that he was upset with me again and I had a pretty good idea why. Though it was against his direct orders to keep my mind open to him at all times, I had hidden my thoughts from him today. I did it so he wouldn't know about the depression that I had set myself into after waking this morning.

He hates it when I get like that, no matter how much a situation might call for it. So he tries to make me stay happy all the time and 'punishes' me when I become too depressed. I won't go into detail into just what these punishments are, since there isn't much time left before he enters my cage and I see him face to face.

With what little time does remain, I decide brace myself as best I can for what else I know is to come. Whatever he plans to do to me this time, I can show neither fear nor pain in front of him. If I do, then it will just add to his amusement and make me seem weaker to him than I already to. So as the door slowly opens, revealing the gold clad figure of him, of the Pharaoh the world calls Yami, I can only endure as I have for so long and ironically pray that darkness will take me quickly.

A/N: More of a ramble than a story I know, but again, it was written when I was dealing with insomnia. It's also probably going to be a one-shot, since it was written under these conditions. I hope that someone out there enjoyed it though and if you did, please let me know. Now if everyone will please excuse me, I need to go strangle my baka cat who insists on yowling at 2 in the morning.