A/N: Season 9 3/4 Round 5 adopted pairing – Illusionshipping (Yami Malik x Mai Kujaku). Been wanting to write this one for a while.

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 that I can think of.


She knows him. That is as certain as the fact that she doesn't, in fact, know him. There's just something at the back of her mind that tugs in ways most annoying and worrisome because she should be able to remember. She does remember; it's just there – on the fringes of her consciousness – and won't come forward.

"Who are you?" she asks and for a moment something ghosts over his face; an odd twitch. But he smiles.

"Oh, you know me." And he smiles and smiles, and smiles, and... It's razor sharp and she could cut herself on the hard edge of his lips. He smiles and she walks the edge; a knife's edge for as long as he smiles at her like that. Woe if he stops though, because she knows – how, she cannot explain; it's just ingrained in her mind with the same certainty as the familiarity of his face – that the moment the knife's edge disappears from his face, it's coming down over her head, splitting her clean in half like a guillotine. And maybe not in half, no, not at all in neat identical halves. In any way he wishes it to swing down, so it will cut her. It will cut her if he stops smiling. That she knows and that's what she fears the most.

"Come," he beckons and she knows it's not a request, no, never a request, but not quite an order either. It's the sound of fate, if she believed in it. Destiny, her friends would claim if they were... Where? Where were her friends? Who were they? Their faces had faded from her mind, making her wonder how long it had been since she'd last seen them. Had she seen them at all? No, never, a helpful little voice whispers at the back of her mind. She hates that voice. It knows things. It knows parts of her life only she ought to know. That voice is a part of her. The part she loathes and would gladly rip out except that... it's the only one telling her truth.

Who are you, she repeats in thought, eyes trained on the path ahead, though it blurs and wreathes itself in a dense fog.

You know, the voice sneers in reply, echoing her thoughts.

Yes. Yes, she knows. A demon. And he has her. He leads her by the hand and no one can save her. No one can help her. Oh, there are some who would try, but she has seen what happens to those who try. Or has she? It's hard to remember. She seems to recall a dark and grisly dream in which everything she loved burned down and crashed to the ground in pieces with ashes raining over the former glory in solemn grey. Everything faded. Everything faded to shades of grey. Fifty. A hundred. More than her eye could discern. More than her mind could count.

"Where are you taking me?" she asks, though she doesn't want to know, doesn't need to know because the answer is already branded in her mind. Hell.


: : :

Every now and then Mai seems to wake as if from a nightmare; her memories intact, her friends alive and well, though unreachable. She'd abandoned them; it had been her own choice. To keep them safe, a part of her mind said. To keep herself drowning in darkness because she didn't think herself worthy, another whispered. Because they were not worthy of her presence, another one insisted. She didn't know which one to believe. Which counsel to hold in a higher regard than the others. They couldn't all be wrong. Yet... could they be right? All of them?

The confusion fades when lavender-coloured eyes peer down at her. Gaze deep into her soul and suffocate her. She fights and claws for the surface, desperately, desperately, but the razor-sharp smile flashes and the world goes dark around her in an instant.

She runs. Out of her apartment. Away from her old life. Away from herself and the hope of future, and right into the rain and the desolation. Right into the snare of those eyes and that smile. Right under the guillotine that sliced and diced her piece by little piece without her ever noticing. She stumbles and falls and remains where she's landed in the mud and dirty water, shrinking away from the world, from herself. When somebody extends a hand to her, she shrinks back, but it is just the razor-sharp smile and those lavender eyes looking down at her and no one else in the whole wide world, and she is slipping, slipping, slipping...