Done for Rowena DeVandal's May '1000 Words or Less Challenge'. This time the theme was 'Changing the Group Dynamic' - i.e. swapping one person in a group for another person. I think I pulled that off fairly well...


Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!





I had passed through many hands over these many years; some I recalled with a vague fondness – as one would recall feeling for a well-trained pet. There were others whose memory I met with irritation and contempt; even those thoughts were more acknowledgements than they deserved.

I had worn many faces, donned bodies as one would don clothing, only to discard them as too poorly of a fit before trying on another, slightly more suitable article from my growing wardrobe.

This one seemed likely to be another poor fit, at first; this child who I had been recently acquired for was weak and small. Likely to be a sickly one as well, which at least meant that I'd be parting ways with this child relatively soon.

However…there was a strange feel to this one, a certain strangeness that I haven't felt for ages. It reminded me of something – though I wasn't completely sure what that was. Memories tend to fade after too long, distort after overuse…

Not long after I was given to the child, he was surrounded by his peers (all muscle and no brains, how pathetic) and assaulted. It was only when the child was knocked to the ground, the secondhand feelings of grit and sand and pain reaching me shortly afterwards, that I was able to realize what it was that the child reminded me of.

Standing alone in the empty desert, challenging the unforgiving sun at midday, surrounded by nothing but the potent heat and the burning light and the absolute silence –

I remembered being alive. Being really and truly ALIVE, with my own flesh and my own soul, and nothing to hold me back or contain me. Such a poignant scene…and there was simply something about this child that made the memory dance through my mind, regaining the vitality of the moment it had happened.

…Truly, this was a feeling worth rewarding, was it not?

The child was weak enough that he would not realize that his sudden lapse in consciousness was not, in fact, due to his sudden beating. And the fools who had knocked him down were unable to see that when the child's body rose to its feet, it was I who now watched them from its oversized eyes.

I wasn't too cruel, I assure you. These foolish whelps would learn the risks of their actions quite well even with their souls sealed into plastic pieces from a checkers game.

While the child mulled over his fortunate escape later, I mused over what to do with him. This child was weak. Too weak for me…and yet he had a rare quality that I would be mad to ignore. His soul nearly sang with potential…potential that would languish if left unattended. Perhaps I could keep him? He would make a useful body, in any case; there were things a frail child's body could do and places it could go that an older, stronger body would be incapable of matching. I'd need to remember to be careful with this fragile one…

In return for my use of his body, I would grant his wishes. It's something I've always done; it would be bad manners to wear a body without pay recompense to the original owner, you know!

This child's greatest wish was for friends to play with. I would have to locate more interesting souls for the child – playground bullies wouldn't do, no matter how convenient it was that the child always had some toy or game on his person to stick souls into. No, only the best quality would suffice.

It was settled. I would keep the child, wear his form towards my own ends and grant his desires – and with any luck, the child would live long enough that his vast potential could be put to use. My use.

After all, what kind of thief would I be if I let this little treasure slip from my grasp? H–heh heh heh…