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

Summary: Malik makes him feel powerless.

After a childhood like his, abandoned like yesterdays trash after their relatives had spent the meagre inheritance left to them by their late parents, adopted by the one of the cruellest men imaginable, the threat of being sent back to the orphanage with Mokuba if he failed to live up to those impossible expectations looming over them and the constant barrage of challenges from those who wanted to get their claws into his company, harm his brother or duel him for whatever apocalyptic crisis they were currently embroiled in, it was little wonder that he had a fervent hatred of feeling powerless.

People called him controlling, and they were right. The obsessive need to organise, and adhere to schedules and rules of his own design so that they would never again be left in such a dire situation was a part of him now, and he had learned to live with it. People threatened this ideal, because they were unpredictable, and uncontrollable. Computers, while they might be subject to failure, never deviated in how they were supposed to operate, didn't tell him what he was doing wrong and they never contradicted his thought.

Malik Ishtar made him feel powerless. He supposed that it ran in the family, after meeting Ishizu.

He didn't believe in magic, or so he said. He had survived the ordeals of his past by trusting his instincts, and denying them when they told him all he had seen was real was not viable for very long. They told him that even Noa's pioneering technology hadn't had that vividness, that personal touch that resonated with him, that Rishid Ishtar was not who he was claiming to be even as he scoffed at the mutts accusation, that Yugi and Yami were not one and the same, that everything was true.

And all of it conspired to make him feel powerless. The past is done, and cannot be changed, even as it influences the present. He could only try to control the future, with wit and technology as his only defence against the unpredictability and the madness that threatened to engulf him in its chaotic sway.

He didn't like being forced to fight against something that he hardly believed in, and he hated being told that he shouldn't be fighting it.

Malik unsettled him, even after the banishment of his dark half, by way of the eerie seriousness that had replaced the mania preceding it. Knowledge is power, and the calm certainty that the fate he believed was absolute would come to pass left him disoriented. He had told his sister that he made his own destiny, but unwittingly her brother was leading him to believe he didn't have a choice after all.

When someone who has suffered even more than you, who has more reason than most to despise being powerless over their own fate and accepts it, and tries to put on a smile, however fake for those who love them, then it made him feel that he wasn't as strong as he'd thought.

At least Gozaburo hadn't left visible scars.