Drabble #12: Anyway

Death had always been a part of Ryou's life. It was surprising, for someone so shy and kind to be enveloped in a world of suffering, but Ryou had become accustomed to it at a young age. The memories came to him from time to time. Memories of slick streets strewn with mangled metal. Of frail bodies riddled with wires and tubes. Of the strident beeping of a monitor as a grief ridden man held a black electrical cord in his pale hands.

Ryou had become accustomed to it all. A life of loneliness was a price he had to pay. That had been his decision. Upon receiving the Ring—feeling its cold, metallic surface on his fingers after it had fallen from its gift wrappings—Ryou had been ready and trained for the loneliness.

It hadn't been his fault, really. He hadn't meant for his friends to become his play toys. He hadn't meant for the families to grieve over lifeless bodies. None of it really registered to him at first.

The Ring had been the source of it all.

Sometimes, Ryou blamed his father for leaving him, and only giving him a cursed piece of jewelry in return. He had been only twelve. And yet, his father left him, ensuring his monetary protection, but not the protection of his heart. Ryou had been grieving too, but his father left him for the lonely sands of Egypt. Ryou blamed his father for killing his mother and sister, for pulling the plug. But that hatred had only lasted a year or so. He knew they had been dead already.

It hadn't been his father's fault, either. How could he have saved his wife and daughter when they were already dead? How could he have known that he would be giving his son to a madman? How could he have known that the twinkling, golden pendant would only mean more suffering for his son? He didn't and he couldn't, of course. Ryou was good at hiding the scars and tears.

Until Ryou turned sixteen, he had simply lived with the loneliness, lived with the pain, and lived with the hands of Death around his throat. They only squeezed a little bit.

When Ryou did turn sixteen things changed. He moved again, fleeing from a marred school record. He met friends, and the spirit that haunted his Ring and his mind came to him more often. The spirit's hands only tightened a little bit—not enough for Ryou to notice.

It had been a slow seduction. The thief held no attachment for Ryou, and only meant to use him for his own purposes. Ryou knew all of this—it was hard not to, when your mind was shared with your personal bane to existence. Why he hadn't stopped it, he couldn't be sure. Why he had allowed himself to be coerced onto tangled sheets, he couldn't possibly know. Why he did not stop the kisses pressed onto his lips by a person who truly wasn't there, he couldn't figure out. Why he had obeyed the thief's instructions for the Dark Game construction, he could not comprehend.

Eventually his entire focus and direction were guided to one end. There was no looking elsewhere for what he sought—he never knew what that was. The spirit had only to mutter "look over here," and Ryou did as he was told. He toiled over the miniatures and game pieces, working harder than he had in his life.

His friends were to die in the game. The only true friends he had ever had.

Death had always been a part of his life, anyway.

Last one for a while, I swear. If you want to read any more drabbles, you can find them in my livejournal: itokonoarts. There's a link in my profile.