God on Earth

a back story to 'Doubtless Dropping Off'

Little Yuugi Mutou was being extraordinarily difficult.

He was nothing like the preliminary examinations of him had suggested. Yuugi was supposed to be quiet, mild-mannered, and generally unassuming. He had a bundle of close-knit friends who would jump to his defense if someone so much as looked at Mutou wrong. Mutou would come to their defense just as readily, but he rarely came out on top, at least initially.

The second personality that came out when Yuugi was agitated … that was what this Yuugi was like. But despite starving him briefly, leaving him in solitude by sheer necessity, and most importantly, stripping him of the Puzzle, Mutou remained cold, fierce, and angry.

In fact, Malik had not seen the gentler Yuugi Mutou since the day the Puzzle had been shattered. This had given rise to a theory – a vague one, but one which Malik liked very much. The second personality, the crueler one, had appeared only after the Puzzle had been solved … perhaps this personality were somehow drawn from the Pharaoh's spirit?

In and of itself, this did not matter to Malik. If anything, it cemented his resolve. Yuugi had solved the Millennium Puzzle; he was the inheritor of the Nameless Pharaoh. If the Pharaoh was the one whom he was left dealing with, all the better.

He could absolutely make do.

&

It had been just under two months since Mutou's kidnapping already. Mutou was worn, his knuckles scabbed from banging on the door and his chapped lips set in a stony line. A month into this mess Mutou had not awoken, and for three days the best doctors were unsure if he would live before it occurred to Malik that perhaps, if he was a spirit from the Puzzle, he needed the Puzzle to continue to live. He had pressed a piece into the boy's unconscious hand and he had indeed awoken with time.

Hazy and drugged, he listened with half-lidded eyes as Malik told him he could keep that one piece of the Puzzle with him until he recovered. "If you're good, I'll let you have the whole thing," Malik promised. "You can put it back together again. I didn't mean to let it get shattered."

"You are cruel," Yuugi said hazily, and fell back asleep.

But he no longer had to be kept alone in a locked room, away from everyone else. He was better than before. Malik let him have the Puzzle for three days, then took it away again, barely assembled. "That's all for now," he said coolly. "You're not sleeping like you should."

"I'll game you for the Puzzle," Yuugi offered, his eyes molten steel.

"Try, and even if you win, my servants will cut your eyes out of their sockets," Malik snarled back.

It was almost back to square one after that, and Malik clucked at Yuugi's broken fingers. "Keep this up, and I might realize I need to melt down a piece of the Puzzle for spare gold."

"You wouldn't," Yuugi said, his voice cracking from disuse.

He was right, but Malik merely sneered at him in mockery.

&

Things were best done when Yuugi wasn't quite awake enough to know what was going on.

It was at such a time that Rishid – good, faithful Rishid! – injected Yuugi with the anesthesia that would keep him quiet and pliable. Yuugi protested, coming fully awake, then spoke incoherently, head lolling. Malik smirked to see it. Even ill, this Mutou was majestic and in control, but now he was reduced to a drugged child.

"I won't make this easy on you," Malik whispered in his ear when he tied the boy's hands to the table legs, slicing the shirt off his back with a sharpened knife. "Wake up, wake up, Yuugi Mutou! There's a surprise waiting for you." But it took half an hour for the boy to come out from under the drugs in full. He looked like he was going to be sick, his face pale and sweaty, and his eyes widened in panic when he realized his position, strapped on his stomach to a cold pallet and stripped to the waist.

"What are you doing!?" Yuugi demanded, his breath coming out in a hiss.

Malik pressed linen between his teeth, gagging him. "Returning the favor," he said with a smirk. He waved his knife before Yuugi's eyes, watched them widen with alarm before narrowing to angry, glinting slits. But Malik laughed. "What will you do, Yuugi? Whatever will you do? Learn this now, and learn it well: I own you." He held the knife over a candle, just as Father had, exactly as Father had …

Yuugi's eyes followed him, and they were wide with horror. He exposed his teeth, biting his gag.

"Don't move too much, or I might slip," Malik whispered, and dipped the knife into the smooth skin across Yuugi's back.

&

Yuugi trembled, writhed, screamed through his gag. Sweat and tears and spit dampened the linen. He fainted twice, at sensitive spots, but Malik waited patiently for him to revive each time.

The process took the better part of six hours. When it was done, Malik had blood smeared to his elbows. Mutou was pale, so pale, shivering with shock, tear tracks on his cheeks. Malik cleaned him up himself, wrapping Mutou's narrow torso with gauze. Just like Father.

&

For three days Mutou lay on his cot, barely touching his food. He could hardly move. The heat of the blade had cauterized the wounds even as they cut, but still he had bled. Infection threatened, only to be staved off with careful care.

"You are a Tombkeeper now, bound to the Millennium Items," Malik told Mutou as the boy looked at him. Mutou was expressionless, but his eyes were full of controlled hate. "What you have on your back is the secrets of the Nameless Pharaoh, in hieratic text. The only person who can read it is me, because I am Pharaoh."

"You are insane," Mutou breathed, even those words a visible effort.

"Then you are servant to a madman," Malik sneered. "Hurry up and get well, Yuugi. There is much you have to do in service to your God made flesh."

Fin

Chapters tbc tomorrow