The monkey on his back
Author's Note: This is something I dreamt up while struggling my way through Enchantment. At first I was wary of starting this fic because its theme seemed too reminiscent of Control's. However, after writing the first chapter, this story began to take a different route completely. By Definition Evil is much darker than Control. It focuses on popular notions such as 'love' and 'evil' and how such notions are all dependent on human interpretation. Also, it contains my first use of Rishid as a main character (M n' M are the other two, of course). I hope you will enjoy reading By Definition Evil as much as I enjoy writing it. Thank you all for your support. Please tell me what you think of my story and don't be afraid to ask questions. –TOT
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Kazuki Takahashi. If not, 4kids would have to edit out a lot more than guns, cleavage, and phallic symbols.
Warning: This story is rated M for a reason. It contains cursing, rape, violence, physical and psychological abuse, and maleXmale pairings. If any of this offends you, I have no idea why you're reading Yugioh fanfiction.
By Definition Evil
Exist (past and past participle ex·ist·ed, present participle ex·ist·ing, 3rd person present singular ex·ists):
1. To have being or actuality; to be. 2. a. To have life; live. b. To continue to live. 3. To be present under certain circumstances or in a specified place; occur.
"I wish you were dead."
"If it wasn't for you…"
If it wasn't for you…
"…I'd be free."
…I could die like you want me to.
"But if you were meant to die…"
If I knew how to do so…
"…then I would be meant to lead a happy life."
…I still wouldn't.
"But this not the case."
I hate you too much to die just yet.
"Your existence always haunts me."
One exists. The other lives.
"More so when you are silent."
That's the only difference.
Malik Ishtar was 22 years old, 6'1", and 153 pounds. He was naturally blond and naturally tan with purple eyes and a not so naturally hairless face that had long outgrown its adolescent femininity. He was living in Alexandria because of work and kept in touch with his siblings for the same reason.
Malik worked as an agent for the Wadjet Historical Society, an association dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts. The WHS had been founded some years earlier by the late Ryou Bakura, an esteemed archaeologist whose son, also Ryou Bakura, had gotten Malik the job. He worked as a locator of stolen objects, using his extensive knowledge of the underworld to track down artifacts that had slipped onto the black market. Malik derived little pleasure from his line of work. He'd seen enough of artifacts during childhood and considered dealing with criminals to be a nuisance. However, it was a job he was good at, and his paycheck was anything but modest.
Malik's apartment did not necessarily reflect the influence his monetary resources. It was located over one of the city's seediest pubs, and no amount of feverish scrubbing could combat its stench of ammonia and old cigarettes. Still, he didn't move out. Malik liked the anonymity, and it was always beneficial to live near one's work cite.
Malik had two living relatives—a sister name Ishizu and an adopted brother, Rishid. He avoided them as much as possible, not because he didn't love them but because he loved them too much. Love is by nature a painful emotion, and—unlike some—Malik Ishtar detested pain.
Malik's childhood had been far from stable. He grew up in the darkness, and, when he finally left that place, he continued a life of darkness in the sun. He was unruly to say the least. Theft, arson, and many more heinous deeds defined his teenage years, and there is little doubt the severity of his crimes would have escalated even further had not a very strange occurrence stopped him in his tracks.
When he was sixteen, at the height of his immoral behavior, Malik Ishtar began to hear voices. One voice to be exact. One voice so cruel and metallic and twisted that it couldn't have been human. But the hatred behind it certainly was, and it was this hatred more than anything that scared him into being good.
Still, benevolence wasn't easy. After the possession, after the darkness and the helplessness and the endless despair of it, Malik was bitter. Bitter because of guilt, because of shame, because he was tired, and because the voice never really went away. It was just remaining silent.
And the fact that he wished it wouldn't frightened Malik Ishtar more than anything.
Malik Ishtar took the pain for granted. It was a part of him, a component both unpleasant and necessary. Without the pain he couldn't function. It reminded him to breathe, to move, to go on feigning his humanity.
Feign. Sham. False. A lie.
That's all he had ever been, all he could ever hope of being. Malik Ishtar wasn't real. He was only a specter, a chimera made in the image of reality. But even if he wasn't real, even if his existence could be explained away as easily as 'bipolar disorder' or 'schizophrenia' or 'MPD', Malik held on to it.
Because even a mental disorder has to hold on to something.
Malik was never born in the literal sense. For a long time there was nothing.
Then he just was.
It was the most terrifying, painful, and unbearably lonely ordeal he had ever experienced. He had no memory, no face, no concept of what he was or what these sensations were that made his consciousness writhe in torment. He wasn't anything, just a part of the abyss that by some cruel twist of fate was made aware of itself.
Malik couldn't, and even if he could, he had no concept of speech with which to vocalize such an epiphany. The only thing he was aware of was the commotion coursing through him that he would later learn to call pain. He didn't like it, but he clung to it because it was all he had. Even then, in his primordial state of utter ignorance, Malik Ishtar understood the consequences of letting go. The pain was a foothold, a crutch allowing him to flicker at the edge of reality. Without it he would lose all sense of himself and fall back into the nothingness he was before.
Gradually the pain became easier to hold on to. Hate slipped into love, and, though he did not know the names of these emotions, he understood that they were one and the same. So it was that when he felt fire cutting memories across his consciousness, Malik Ishtar wasn't afraid. He fell into the pain gladly, and for the second time in his life was confronted with something he did not understand.
For the first time Malik saw, and what he saw was and was not himself. It wasn't like looking in a mirror—though that would produce a similar effect. Rather, Malik sensed that this blond, sniveling, bleeding creature was him or—at the very least—was something he was a part of.
This explanation didn't make sense, but age goes hand in hand with knowledge and Malik was still very much a child. He kept tabs on the 'other him' as time progressed, and soon a new emotion surfaced.
Jealousy. More potent and dangerous than pain. Alone Malik's hatred or love or whatever he called it had been innocent. But with direction it sharpened and spread until he loved and hated and envied the 'other him' so much it overwhelmed him. But something got in the way of this jealousy. Malik knew enough by now to recognize it as love, but the love protecting the 'other him' was infinitely stronger than the love he felt writhing painfully in the darkness…so Malik hid, biding his time.
The time came and Malik was hasty. He was too happy to be out, too greedy to touch and to breathe and to feel. He killed brutally and with the naivety of a child. As with Cain, Malik found the concept of death completely foreign…but he liked it. Or maybe not. The scent of his—of the 'other his'—father's blood made Malik's insides hurt and his mouth curve into a crazy grin. It was either nausea or euphoria. He had yet to know the difference.
And then he was sent back. The thing—Rishid, he later learned to call him—woke up and banished him to shadows. ButWhy? Because Rishid loves Malik. But I am Malik. Are you? I…I…
That's when he understood. Malik was not Malik because 'Other Malik' was Malik, and Malik and 'Other Malik' could not both be Malik. Therefore he was…he was…
Who am I?
This was how the creature who was not Malik discovered the meaning of existence.
Rishid Ishtar was known for being selfless. He was also known for being Malik, or he had been at one time. Now he was only Rishid or Malik's Shadow as he was sometimes forced to remember. However, sometimes was becoming less and less frequent. He hadn't heard from the blonde in weeks now.
Malik only called for two reasons. It was either I located the artifact Ishi wanted. Will you bring it to her? or Rishid? Rishid…oh…oh nothing. I just…I had that dream again. The latter hadn't been heard in months. It seemed that Malik's mental scarring was healing nicely, and Rishid…
Rishid felt completely useless. It wasn't that he wanted Malik to go PTSD on him or anything. He just wanted contact…recognition. Maybe he was tired of being Malik's –unnoticed, underappreciated, unloved—Shadow. Maybe he felt just a little bit used. Maybe…
Maybe he was just bitter because he couldn't tell Malik his secret.
Because, like Malik before him, Malik's Shadow had also begun to hear voices. One voice to be exact. And, like Malik before him, he was desperately frightened. Because he wasn't crazy. He knew this voice as well as he knew himself.
Tell me who I should hate.
The first words it ever said to him. The look of evil that crossed his young master's face. Rishid knew then that he had been right to carve the sealing spell into his face. To contain that evil. This was his purpose.
But Malik would never know his newest secret. Rishid would suffer the monster's voice alone, and somewhere in the darkest corridor of his heart, he would take from his master's ignorance a vicious pleasure. For there was never a venom so sweet as that gleaned from the self-gratification of an unsung martyr, and the line between selflessness and sanctimony is perilous to begin with.
After his first escape attempt failed, the creature who was not Malik Ishtar learned the art of patience. He learned to see through Malik's eyes and to hear through his ears and to feel the things he felt, and because of this he was able to come to several conclusions.
He concluded that the outside world was inherently bad but still much better than the hell in which he himself existed.
He concluded that he was not meant to live in the outside world.
He concluded that, because of this, the outside world should be destroyed.
He concluded that the only way to do this was to take over Malik's body.
He concluded that he was strongest when Malik was very angry.
He concluded that eliminating Rishid would also play a key part in aforesaid takeover.
He concluded that all his goals were fueled by mindless, aching, soul-wrenching hate and that this hate in turn was fueled by jealousy…jealousy and something else that flickered on the borders of his limited emotional spectrum and could not be defined.
The second chance came, and the creature who was not Malik Ishtar failed again. Good prevailed, and when he begged for mercy, Good shook its—scrawny, predestined, notalone—head and said "No." Yet again, the creature was left to his conclusions.
He concluded that he had fought to destroy the world and that he had begged to stay in it and that these facts contradicted each other and did not make sense.
He concluded that, because of this contradiction, he must be deceiving himself and that perhaps his desires were more complicated than destruction.
He concluded that he wanted to exist separate from the darkness.
He concluded that, to accomplish this, he would have to become owner of Malik Ishtar's body.
He concluded that this might not be possible.
He concluded that, assuming it was possible, his current tactics weren't working.
He concluded that Rishid was still his biggest obstacle because Rishid loved Malik Ishtar and hated 'Other Malik'.
He concluded that he was 'Other Malik'.
He concluded that if Rishid loved Malik Ishtar then Malik Ishtar was whomever Rishid loved.
He concluded that this reasoning could take him somewhere.
'Other Malik' was once again submersed in the darkness from which he had risen. The shadows tore at him, tried jealously to call him back into the nothing from which he came, and, as always, he combated them with his hatred, using insurmountable rage to keep his existence from falling apart completely.
Hatred took effort, and he was getting weaker. It was when he thought that he might finally slip into nonbeing that 'Other Malik' decided to act. The plan had been ready for a time now, but in truth he was scared to act upon it. The new scheme involved matters in which he had little experience. In a way he was striking out blindly, but 'Other Malik' had no other choice. He could not die, but he could very easily be erased.
He held his metaphorical breath and reached out.
"Rishid Ishtar, can you hear me?"
Despite an admirable effort, he was unable to keep the metallic, heartless twang from saturating his voice.
A/N: I'm sorry that the first part is so short. It's meant to be more of an introduction than an actual chapter. There will be a lot more action in upcoming installments. I promise!!