Malik jabbed a finger against the television's power button, but even with it off it seemed like the groans and shouts of the adult program he'd chanced upon filled the room. His face was warm, but he wasn't embarrassed for himself, he was embarrassed for the people on the screen that had made such ridiculous spectacles of themselves, shedding their clothes and dignity for the entertainment of others. Really, he didn't know what about that could be entertaining.
To distract himself, he went over to the square table and scanned through his notes and plans. They were many, and thorough, and working out even better than he'd hoped. It had been two years since he'd left the tomb in order to kill the Pharaoh. Perfect revenge required patience; Malik would not give into haste and make a fatal mistake. Mistakes with the people he now dealt with often did turn out to be fatal- but when things went wrong for Malik, he had two things to rely upon: the Millennium Rod and Rishid.
Early the next morning he and Rishid would be meeting with the Rare Hunters stationed in London, where they were currently staying. They had rented connecting rooms at a fancy hotel. Malik used to allow Rishid to stay in the room with him, but now he rejected that as a sign of weakness. Malik Ishtar was not weak.
He couldn't afford to be.
Before going to bed, he decided to take a long, hot shower. Showers- they were one of Malik's favorite innovations of the surface. Baths in the tomb had been cold and taken in uncomfortable stone basins. Somehow, though, he could never take a shower longer than five minutes; even though Rishid said the hot water wasn't going to run out, he didn't fully believe him.
As he washed the shampoo from his hair, he thought he heard whispering. He whipped his head towards the door, but it hadn't opened. He glanced at the Rod, which he kept in the stall with him, just in case. It was hard to tell through the steam building up, but it looked like the eye on it was glowing. Malik reached out to touch it. Despite the humid heat in the bathroom, it was as cold as the desert night.
He turned the knobs off and ran a towel through his hair before dressing in lavender pajamas. A knock at the connecting door got his attention, and he opened it to see what Rishid wanted.
"What time will we be leaving in the morning, Malik-sama?"
"Five o' clock. Be ready."
"Yes. Would you like me to wake you before then?"
"I can get up by myself," Malik snapped. "You better just not slow me down." He shut the door, perhaps with a little more strength than he should have. His hand hesitated an inch from the doorknob, and he was tempted to open the door and apologize, but instead he locked it and got into bed.
It was too hot, even with the air conditioner on, so he piled the covers to one side. He let his head sink into the pillow and closed his eyes, his heart rate beginning to accelerate. He hated these moments right before sleep took him. Sleep meant darkness and nightmares; it always had. It was a terrible feeling, drifting off as the body entered unconsciousness, but Malik had learned the hard way that staying awake until he collapsed wasn't the solution. That made his mind less alert, and he had to be in prime mental condition to bend the wills of others.
But there was another reason he hated falling asleep. Sometimes, right when he was about to nod off, he heard things. A voice, or incessant laughter. The voice seemed so familiar to him it was frightening, but if he got scared, the laughter became louder and faster.
Tonight was one of those nights. Whispers nudged his ears, little snippets of sentences that dripped with hatred. They told him to kill the Pharaoh. They told him to kill himself. They told him to fling open the connecting door and stab Rishid through the eye.
Or at least... That was what the voice normally said. Tonight, it wasn't giving orders. It seemed to want... a conversation.
You can't stop thinking about it, can you?
He always knew what the voice was referring to, somehow. Shut up. I only think about what I want to. He answered the voice silently, and wondered what Rishid would say if he knew about its visits at night.
He'd call you crazy. He'd lock you up.
You're wrong! Rishid would never do that. And I wouldn't let him, anyway.
He wouldn't be able to do anything if you'd just KILL HIM KILL HIM MALIK KILL- SHUT UP!
Malik covered his ears, but it did no good.
Maybe- maybe he was crazy.
It's okay to be crazy, Malik. I'm crazy, too. So you don't have to lie to me. I know you can't stop thinking about that show...
It was disgusting. Why would I think about it?
Because we're curious.
Yes, we are.
Malik's head was pounding. He didn't like this conversation, and he didn't like the voice. Why did it always sound so familiar?
I wonder, the voice mused, if it's a technique that could be used in our favor.
What do you mean? Those people- Malik remembered the glimpse of their sweating, writhing bodies, and couldn't help but make a face- they're-
Tools, just like every other person in the world. I agree with you, Malik. There was nothing appealing in what they were doing. But they were enjoying it, weren't they? Anything pleasurable can be a trap.
But I do wonder... What did it feel like?
I don't care. Malik was growing weary of talking. Sleep was just within reach.
The light in the room changed, and Malik's eyes flew open, to either yell at Rishid or for him, depending on what had caused the change. On the pillow beside him, the Rod was glowing. "What?" He sat up and reached for it. Right as his fingers wrapped around it, a numbing sensation swept over him. He lay back down slowly, eyes half-shut.
I think we should find out.
What are you doing? Malik felt the stirrings of panic as he realized he was no longer in control of his body. It made no sense; he was holding the Rod! How could someone else be controlling him? He tried to open his mouth to shout Rishid's name, but he couldn't even manage that.
Tsk, tsk. Rishid's not coming over here, and you'd better be glad for that, because if he did I'd kill him. As the voice spoke in his ears, in his mind, he felt his hands trailing over his stomach, stopping at the top of his pants.
What are you doing!? Malik demanded to know once more.
Oh, Malik... I'm only doing what I always do. I'm giving you what you want, and you can act like you hate it and cry about it later, just so you don't feel guilty at all. But you're only lying to yourself. For instance, you WANTED our father to die...
What? No! Of course I didn't!
You did, and you want to know what this feels like, so now I'm letting you know.
With that statement, Malik felt himself jerking his pants down. He felt helpless as, unbidden, his own hand crept closer to his most private area. He wanted to throw up because he couldn't move, just like during the Initiation, and he wanted to move and fight off his enemy, but he couldn't move, and his enemy was himself.
His fingers were ice-cold as they wrapped around his length. The movements were tentative, like he wasn't sure what he was doing. He'd never done this before, after all, even though he'd learned that lots of people, especially guys, did. He hadn't cared, because he was above needing pleasure like other humans did, and he'd still been clinging to that apathy but then that stupid television show had caught his attention and the voice was right, it always was, he was curious but more than that, he wanted the movement to stop.
You should relax, the voice told him. I'll do all the work for you. It ignored both his mental curses and pleas for it to stop. His hand was gaining confidence, rubbing over his tip, trailing back and forth as he found himself hardening.
Good boy. Malik's stomach twisted at the voice's audible smirk. He knew he was weak for responding to what he didn't want- or did he want it? His head was faintly throbbing, and it was hard to know anymore.
His hand sped up, the friction making Malik glad for the first time that he couldn't use his voice, because he was sure he would have moaned aloud at the feeling. His breath quickened as undiluted pleasure spread through his veins, assaulted his mind. He had no idea that something like this could feel so good.
Would you like me to stop now, Malik? the voice taunted.
I hate you. ...Don't stop.
It obliged, and Malik felt a strange warmth in his stomach. After one more rapid stroke of his hand, Malik released, white essence spilling onto him and the bed alike.
He felt exhausted as his breathing slowed. Damn it, now I have to get rid of these sheets. He didn't want Rishid to know what had happened. But he still couldn't move. The hand that had clenched the Rod while the other hand was occupied rose. With his now-free hand, he removed the sheath that concealed a dagger. Malik stared wide-eyed as his own hands held the dagger above his chest.
I hate you, Malik, I love you, I'll always protect you, and give you everything you want. You really do deserve to die.
The words kept contradicting, kept winding back and forth until they were a tangled knot of nonsense. Seeing the knife pointed at him caused intense fear to flood Malik's mind. He hated knives even more than the dark.
I'm not going to hurt you.
Then why are you-
Because the taste of your fear is so delicious, Malik. A chilling laugh followed that line. It makes me want to hate more. It makes me want to drown the world in it. He lowered the dagger and slipped the bottom half of the Rod over it again. The Rod wasn't glowing quite so brilliantly anymore. Sweet dreams, the voice said. I'll come again soon.
Malik didn't doubt the truth of that. The room turned completely dark, and Malik placed the Rod a good foot away from him, wondering how much even he understood of its powers. The voice, that voice he'd always associated with the Rod, maybe even thought of as the Rod's voice, it resonated in his ears and suddenly he knew why it was so familiar. It was his own.
That was his last conscious thought before he pulled his pants up, wiped the mess off his body, and threw the sheets over the side of the bed and out of sight. Sleep overtook him, and in the morning he would remember the voice and what it had made him do, but he wouldn't remember the impossible realization that he was the one behind it all.
A/N: Confession... This is one my favorite one-shots I've ever written. I could explore Malik and Mariku's messed-up relationship all day and never get tired of it.
In canon, it seems like Malik isn't aware of his alternate personality until he literally comes face to face with him. I like to explore the possibility that he had an inkling that something wasn't right with his mind even before that. He says in the manga that falling asleep is terrifying for him; maybe it's because the boundary between his personalities blurs then.
Thanks for reading, and please review!