Happy Birthday, Silenced Shadows!

(Malik is the light,
Marik is the dark)


His hair fanned white over his narrow shoulders as he strode purposefully down the dark alleyways and deserted back roads, heading closer to the centre of the city. His hair fell across his face in messy, uneven pieces, obscuring his features from the few people who walked past him. His shadow danced around him as he walked between lampposts. There were some advantages to this modern world, he knew.

The wind blew unexpectedly, pushing the hair off his face, revealing his dark, dangerous eyes and his strangely wide smile.

Tonight was a night for unusual delights.

A night for blood.


The sand was his womb.

He had no mother, he thought, only sand. It shaped itself around him, letting him grow in its dark, warm centre, trapping it from escapes until he'd matured enough. Then, in its haste to get that hatred out of itself, the sand spit him out into the hot desert air, with the harsh wind blowing in his hair and a voice in his head and a rod clutched in his fist and the lingering ache of a branding on his back, and he felt so, so, so very alive.

Alive with promise.

Alive with hatred.


The look in his eyes was swathed in layers. There was a ring of hatred, then a line of anger, then a swirl of pain. There was defiance followed by petulance, followed again, this time by a flare of passion. The passion was for blood, for death, for the pain of others. Look deeper into his eyes and you'll see just a touch of Malik's regret, and deeper still, there is a tiny, ever so small sliver of humanity, hidden deep in the recesses of all the dark, dangerous layers. The most obvious thing, when you looked though, was madness.


He was a light in a shaded sky, a flower growing out of dead leaves. He was the fresh smell in the air after a thunderstorm, a safe, sheltered bay in the middle of a tidal wave. He was the silver of a cobweb in a shadowy doorway, the orange of a streetlamp in deserted streets. He was hope when there was nothing else, smiling in a crowd of scowls, a comforting shoulder in a world that had turned its back on you. He was the voice that was too quiet to be heard, the one that everyone always forgot.


A thousand lifetimes ago, he'd been the most feared thief in the whole of Egypt, a demon with disfiguring scars that had him recognised instantly, a horseback avenger for his lost family, taking from the god's nobles on earth to punish them for their inequitable actions to the poor. He was strong, he was feared, but above all, he was somebody.

But now he stood in the middle of a busy city, crowds pushing around him, even the grey sky above different to the old scorching blues. Now he was just another face in the crowd.

He'd soon change that.


He'd been told he looked angelic by his sister, the only one in his family with hair that shone in the candlelight like hoarded gold. His eyes were different too, darker than the familial blue, as if tinged with red to make a deeper purple. He was so different to the rest of them. He didn't want the markings like his brother, he didn't want to carry on the legacy like his sister, didn't want to look into the mirror everyday and be reminded of the walls reflected back.

He wanted to feel the sand beneath him, not above him.


It felt so good to be free of all his constraints, so good to be out of the confines of Malik's mind so he could do whatever he wanted, because the other's voice was well and truly diminished now. He could feel blood splattered on his face and the sweat on his forehead and the throb of a pulse on his hand as it tightened around someone's neck. He was alive, and so what if some people said he shouldn't have his own existence, shouldn't be alive? He was, so fuck them.

He could just kill them all later, anyway.


Ryou, sighed, and poked Malik in the side to get his undivided attention.

"Do you ever feel used, even now?"

The other looked back, unsmiling, eyes bright.



"But at the end of the day, at least you're not the only one who feels that way."

Ryou found himself smiling. He was right- there was someone else who knew just as well, and was willing to listen and comfort and care.

"Thank you."

"No need to apologise. It's the truth. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't, and if I didn't want to be."

"I know, but… thanks anyway."


The ring glittered around his neck like a hangman's noose, a line to hang himself on. His hair shone silver in the moonlight as he wandered streets looking for trouble and finding it. The blots of blood on his clothes the next day burned with the intensity of bronze. Everything he did, he did for a reason, and every item he collected, he did that for one too. Each bloodstain told a story, each moonlit night an excuse to make another. The ring was a constant reminder of a story he'd never got to finish, long ago, in another lifetime.


I'm slightly confused about what I am, if I am going to be perfectly honest about it. Rain sledgehammers against the window pane, a welcome relief to the barren Egyptian days, a reminder that I could now look at the sky. Was I a freedom fighter, or a dictator? How could I have been the hikari when I was evil? A year has passed, and I'm no closer to finding an answer, but perhaps I should listen to the advice whispered by the boy who beat me: to stop thinking about it, and just forgive myself.

Yes, perhaps I will.


We walked down lonely roads and twisted paths, finding our ways in the shadows and in the dusk. Out light was the gloom of twilight, our darkness absolute and feeling eternal. We always walked though. One foot in front of the other, always forcing ourselves onwards, progressing, one day to the next, one second as long as a millennia in our minds. Surrounded by walls that confined us and branded by markings, cursing the world and hating his life, he'd made me to stand shoulder to shoulder in the darkness.

All he felt was anger.

All I felt was promise.


I've had what could be described as a disturbed life. A thousand things happened to me that never should have happened to anyone at all, and I was privy to secrets that I never wanted to keep. I was oppressed, depressed, my vision contorted, controlled. I couldn't, and didn't, fight back. But light comes at the end of every rainbow, and it came with promise and the idea of a future. People smiled at me again, and that was all I ever really wanted.

I put the necklace away in a drawer.

I was certain that I could carry on.


The sky was never as blue, the sun never as infrequent, the seasons too defined. There were too many buildings, too many wealthy people, too many labels for things that didn't need it. Here, his feelings needed analysing and his actions needed reason. The lights were brighter and the technology so totally different. But here he could walk down a street without being arrested for being a wanted criminal, and here he did not have to be reminded of pain when he looked in the mirror and saw his scar. Here, he felt like he could find his own redemption.


Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails that Marik ripped off himself- mix it up with the Millennium rod that never stays long on the shelf. Add in a dash of maniacal laughter and piles of bloodthirsty glee- he's convinced his way is the right and no-one will dare disagree. Splash in a little essence of corpse and a touch of insanity, throw in the blood of the recently slain- he's lost his humanity. Boil it up with his anger and throw in shots of pain, you'll have Marik and I know it's obvious, but the guy is bloody insane.

Couldn't resist the last one… Aw, my little cousin is growing up : (