Me, myself and the couch

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Warnings/notes: Malik, Marik, oocness, major weirdness, slightly AU.

Disclaimer: I don't own YuGiOh.

(!) Spoilers for Malik's youth and Battle City.

written at 7th january 2005, by Misura, for a request made by Dirjanka in the livejournal-community fic-on-demand.

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The moment he walked into the living-room and saw the person who was asleep on the couch, in front of the TV, Malik knew something wasn't quite right. What, precisely, didn't occur to him straight away though, so he shrugged off the feeling for the moment, reasonably sure that he would remember at the least convenient moment.

All through his life, it had happened that way.

Never had anything taken place at the right time. Instead he always seemed to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. As if he had been cursed by bad luck.

In being born, he had killed his mother.

In staying too long past the point when he should have left, he had murdered his father.

In waiting for years before taking up what had rightfully belonged to him from the day of his birth, he had alienated his sister.

Somewhere along the way from youth and innocence to maturity and power, he had lost Odion as well, who had been mother, father and brother to him. Right this moment, Malik couldn't recall when or how this had happened, merely that it had.

Perhaps it had been a gradual process, a slow slipping away of the older boy he had called 'big brother' and thought of as 'friend', to be reshaped into Odion the obedient servant, whose entire vocabulary seemed to consist of but three words"Yes, Master Malik."

He had hated that, and he had reveled in it, savoring the sense of power it gave him, while at the same time despising Odion for surrendering so easily, for not showing more of a backbone.

"You are seriously messed up, you know," the devil that had been created in his image remarked casually, sitting up as if he had never been asleep. Maybe he hadn't; what need would a Spirit have for rest after all?

"Look who's talking," Malik replied, even as part of him pointed out that there was no need to speak to a person who didn't exist, who was just a Spirit, a ghost of the past. And part of him wanted to reach out to see if he might touch something, someone, and part of him shivered in fear at the same time another part of him shivered with desire.

"Yes, let's do that," his mirror answered, stretching lazily like a cat.

Malik neither advanced nor backed away, even if he wanted to do both. Either, at least. He had never enjoyed remaining where he was, instead wishing to see beyond the present, beyond the horizon.

He had no desire to look upon the past, the way Ishizu did so eagerly, except when it profited him in some way. His great crusade, the one thing he had embraced like the loved ones he no longer had, came from a sin committed ages ago. Millennia ago.

The results of that crime had still been there though; Malik would have been able to be happy, if not for that mysterious person that was only ever named as 'The Pharaoh'. He would have had normalcy, at the very least, with sunlight and blue skies and rain and friends, if not for -him-.

He would never have had his own personal Devil, if not for The Pharaoh. Instead, he would have been like those he had preyed upon, those he had enslaved, whose souls he had imprisoned and held in his hands as if they were so many worthless baubles.

Normalcy was a dull and drab experience, a continual repeating of routines, an existence stripped of all life but that of the body. Death was preferrable above that. Or insanity ...

"Knock, knock," his Angel said, as if they were children, playing a game.

"Who's there?" Malik responded, aware of the required answer even if he had never had anyone else to say it to. He remembered, because others had remembered.

"That's the question." Malik scoffed at Malik. "You should give me an answer."

The answer ... 'who's there?'

Who was there?

No one.

Who hadn't left yet?

Nobody.

"Nobody except you," Malik said.

The other him glared at him. "You are a fool, telling me things I already know."

"Then what answer do you want from me?" Malik demanded, losing his temper. It used to scare him to do that, to surrender a part of him to the darkness, yet at this moment, the darkness was standing right in front of him, and he was safe for it. And he felt weak because of it.

"I am here; I am perfectly aware of that, so I don't need to hear it from you." The Spirit shrugged. "But what about you?"

"Of course, I'm here!" Malik snarled. "You're a part of me, after all."

He smiled at himself. "Am I? Or is it you, who is a part of me? Did you create me, or did I tear myself away from you, like a butterfly abandoning its cocoon?"

"You are my hatred, personified. You are not a person." Malik didn't return the smile.

"No." His Devil cocked his head, staring at him. "Neither are you."

"Why not?" Malik inquired, realizing the question to be a mistake the moment the words had left his mouth.

"If I really am your 'hatred', it would define you as incomplete. No being can live without hatred, without a corner in his mind where the light will never reach. No human, sane being, at least."

"Look who's talking," Malik said. Again.

"Yes, let's," his mirror answered. Again.

"-I- am talking." Malik turned away, back to the door through which he'd entered.

"To yourself," a voice agreed, coming from behind him. And, somehow, inexplicably, from in front of him, and from the left, and the right.

Malik left the room quickly, closing the door behind him. He'd have locked it, he thought, if such a thing had been possible, but there was no lock and no key.

He surveyed the corridor, looking for some way out, some clue to where he'd find whatever it was he needed to find. What that was, he couldn't quite recall, but he was sure he'd recognize it when he saw it. He'd always been lucky that way.

When he'd needed his freedom, he'd summoned the dark to vanquish his father.

When he'd needed a faithful, willing slave to take care of him, his mother had died, binding Odion to his service with her last breath.

When he'd needed more power, he'd called on the dark to provide him with it.

Malik laughed, enjoying the way the sound echoed between the narrow walls, bouncing off a ceiling too high for him to see. For one brief, fleeting instant, he imagined hearing a woman's voice, calling him. Sounding like his sister.

Ignoring it, he opened a new door.

The moment he walked into the living-room and saw the person who was asleep on the couch, in front of the TV, Malik knew something wasn't quite right. What, precisely, didn't occur to him straight away though, so he shrugged off the feeling for the moment, reasonably sure that he would remember at the least convenient moment ...

OWARI