A/N: Season 9 3/4 Round 4 adopted pairing – Bronzeshipping - Malik Ishtar x Yami Malik because I've never written it and I wanted to give it a try. Inspired by a few choice lines of a Russian song by Anna German – Eho (Echo), and they are "We're an echo/ Echo/ We're a long echo of each other." Coincidentally, it's a love song.

Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yuugiou! franchise and I claim no association with any of them. No copyright infringement intended with this and no money is being made from this. Please support the creator by purchasing the official releases.

Warnings: none, worksafe.


Echo

He comes when it's dark. He whispers himself in through the cracks of his consciousness. Bleeds himself in between the emotions where it's uncertain and confusing and in need of fulfilment. And he lets him. He lets him in.

"Hello." It is a greeting and a welcome. He wants in while he wants him out. Somewhere along the line it twists and turns and he is no longer sure which is which. He just knows that he's there to stay.

"Leave." It is a wish and an order.

"No." It is a plea and a confirmation. They are here. The both of them. As one.

When Malik looks into a mirror, he doesn't see himself. He sees what he could be, what he would be, what he will become. It doesn't scare him, not yet. He welcomes it. Welcomes and embraces the voice at the back of his mind that whispers to him about things that will come to pass ifwhenbeforetogether. Yearning for what has been denied to him, Malik reaches out into the darkness, desperately seeking to find a purchase, to find a guiding light because the road ahead of him is dark and dangerous, an never even. The darkness brushes against him, against his very essence and… takes hold. It blends itself easily between his thoughts, it hones his judgment until it's razor-sharp, and it provides the drive that he's been lacking all these years under his father's rule. The road unwinds itself before him and with every step down it that he takes, the darkness grows stronger. Bolder.

"Mine," the darkness whispers and Malik echoes.

Mine, the darkness means the body, the soul, the will.

Mine, Malik means the promises, the power, the place at the helm of the world.

Mine, they breathe as one.

The darkness roots itself deep. It manifests itself in a manifold of thoughts, truths, trepidations. They all affirm the one, the central – mine is the place of the King for I have stood guarding his tombs for eternity and into the time when his blood has run dry and his flesh has petered out into dust and memories. There is no one else more worthy to inherit the place as the descendant of the last pure bloodline of the royal guardians.

The darkness builds resentment. The darkness ramps up the unjust little things in life. The darkness sheds new light on things. The darkness is becoming to Malik… and it becomes. A part of him he's never known to exist rises to the forefront of his thoughts. Is speaks with the voice of all things wrong in his life; it tells him how it should have been. How it should have been right.

When Malik reaches out towards the darkness, it reaches back. It swells and builds itself up, faster and faster; a gossamer spinning itself into a cocoon. It fills him up to the brim and threatens to burst. It urges him onward, hurry, hurry, take the final leap, let me out, let me out let me out letmeoutletme…

When Malik looks into a mirror, he doesn't see himself. He sees what has become of him. The cocoon has burst open, the creature within has taken flight. And it's right there, right at the fringes of his own being – breathing as if alive, whispering louder than ever in his ear, taking hold, taking charge. Making him lose his grip on the part of himself he didn't know he cared about – until now. And he grows scared.

When darkness looks into his eyes, it sees its own reflection staring back. Mine, it intones and means the body, the soul, the will.

Mine, Malik ventures, though his voice is weak and he finds himself questioning – what's mine anymore? He reaches out to touch the source of his strength, the one that guided him this far, that gave him strength and will, and belief, and touches… nothing. The multitude of tiny voids inside of him that got the ball rolling has conglomerated into an abyssal force that eludes him and laughs, laughs, laughs at how weak the being before it is.

The darkness reaches out and touches… an Echo.