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[Amnesty Day] [Yu-Gi-Oh!] Various

Title: Sunsets
Day/Prompt: May 1st - Only then am I human
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Marik Ishtar, Rishid Ishtar
Rating/Warning(s): K

Marik had been bent on revenge for years, forming the Rare Hunter criminal organization, looking for the Pharaoh or his friends, all so that he could deliver vengeance on the Pharaoh for turning against the family that had so faithfully served him for three thousand years.

Rishid had been his faithful companion all that time. He had tried to talk Marik out of every one of his dark schemes, seeing how the boy was sinking deeper into the darkness with every passing day, but he could do very little. Marik was too troubled, too filled with hatred, for Rishid to be able to get through to the good person buried underneath the pain. And Rishid feared the greater danger that would befall both Marik and the world if he were not there to contain it. So whenever it was clear that he was not getting through and Marik would not be dissuaded, Rishid let the matter drop and simply, quietly followed orders. He was the Rare Hunter the entire organization feared most; his strong stature, intimidating silence, and cold glares frightened them all.

But every night, he disappeared into his room on the yacht and prayed desperately for Marik's redemption and to know what to do to bring it about. He appeared stern and fierce, but in reality he was a worried older brother.

Marik, meanwhile, although he was losing himself to the darkness, still had moments of humanity on occasion. He could be immaturely roaring at a failure one moment and staring out at the ocean, lost in thought, the next. Sometimes he stayed quiet, something the other Rare Hunters were all too grateful for. But other times he spoke to Rishid, and sometimes about the most trivial or unexpected things.

"Hey, Rishid," he said one day as he gazed out at a sunset splashed with orange, red, and pink colors in the sky and on the water, "do you think Father ever saw something like this?"

Rishid looked up from his deck chair in surprise. "I doubt it," he said. "He only ever saw the sunset when it hit the opening in our underground roof just right. And it was never anything like this."

Marik sighed, crossing his arms as he leaned on the railing. "Maybe if he'd seen that the outside world holds such beauty, he would have felt differently about living underground."

But they both knew that was unlikely. Mr. Ishtar had been devoted to the family heritage of guarding the Pharaoh's tomb to a fault. Nothing could have ever shaken him from it. And Rishid knew what Marik had blocked out—that Mr. Ishtar had not been above resorting to murder to keep the family underground.

Still, he said none of that. Right now, he just wanted to bask in a moment when he saw the boy he loved coming through the twisted pain and hatred.

Title: Back in Control
Day/Prompt: May 3rd - No better version of me
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Yami Marik
Rating/Warning(s): K+ (creepy)

Yami Marik stood in front of the mirror in the restroom, sneering to himself. At last, after five long years of being trapped and oppressed, he was finally free thanks to Rishid being struck down by lightning. It felt incredible, amazing, to be in control of Marik's body again and not be shoved into the recesses of the boy's heart and soul. He would never again allow himself to be so confined. That was a promise.

The first order of business was to change his wardrobe. He had never liked that silly midriff-baring lavender shirt, so of course it had to go. Marik had a black shirt that was much more suiting. The trousers were alright, but wearing all black was so cliche. He would substitute khaki instead. He liked the capes wore by all the Rare Hunters and sometimes by Marik himself, so he would complete his attire with one of those.

Oh, and of course, the Millennium Rod would stay with him at all times. He would just keep it tucked through his belt until he was ready to use its dark power on his first victim of the night.

Yes, he decided as he examined himself from all angles, Marik had never looked better. The boy would never see it that way, but that hardly mattered. Yami Marik had no desire to fulfill Marik's original wish of being a protector. Nor did he have any intention of taking a chance on Rishid waking up and trying to make him go away again.

His second order of business was to kill that fool.

Title: Not a Servant
Day/Prompt: May 4th - How pure, how sweet a love
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Rishid Ishtar, Marik Ishtar
Rating/Warning(s): T (abuse, thoughts of murder)

Rishid wished he didn't feel the way he sometimes did about Marik. The boy was young and innocent, with no comprehension that Rishid's life had been turned upsidedown by his arrival. But it had been, and at times, Rishid didn't feel as though he could ever fully feel good about Marik because of that. Mr. Ishtar would have let him have the Tombkeepers' Initiation, to fully be his son, if it hadn't been for Marik being born. Marik was what he had always wanted, a true heir, and now that his wife was dead he felt free to treat Rishid the way he had always seen him—as an outsider and a worthless slave.

He wondered if sometimes he blamed Marik for Mrs. Ishtar's death. She had died giving him life, and her final words had been to plead with Rishid to take care of his sister and brother. He had vowed he always would. And in her memory he had tried so hard to quell whatever dark feelings stirred in his heart.

But now, as Marik lay suffering from a snake bite and Rishid stood smarting from Mr. Ishtar's latest cruelty and blame, he broke. He wasn't going to take it any longer. He wouldn't be oppressed by this family and thought of as less than a person one more moment. A treacherous idea took root in his heart, a horrible, unspeakably evil idea, but one that in that dark moment made perfect sense. He grasped a nearby weapon as he approached the bed.

"I'm sorry, big brother."

Four words that shot into him with the power of arrows. The dark cloud lifted; the dagger dropped from his hand to clatter to the stone floor. He soon followed, collapsing to his knees as he took Marik's small hand in his and wept.

It was only Mr. Ishtar who considered him less than a person. Ishizu and Marik both considered him their brother. How had he not seen it? Instead, he had actually thought of extinguishing such a precious light!

In hindsight he couldn't believe he would have really lowered the dagger even if Marik hadn't spoken. And Marik had eventually admitted that he had known Rishid was holding it, but he had held no fear. Rishid could scarcely grasp the magnitude of such trust in him, especially when he had been so badly damaged by Mr. Ishtar's constant railing and abuse. But he vowed he would never make Marik's trust be in vain. He would always protect his brother.

Title: Let Me Out
Day/Prompt: May 6th - Innocence Died Screaming
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Marik Ishtar
Rating/Warning(s): T (thematic elements)

The sensation was horrible. Sickening. Marik's head was pounding out of control, his pulse racing wildly in every part of his body. He didn't know why this was happening to him, but he knew what had caused it. The sight of his father shoving Rishid to the floor, whipping him, vowing to kill him . . . ! And Rishid looking up at him for one last moment before falling unconscious. . . . It was as if Rishid's consciousness held a strange seal over Marik, keeping him sane and in control. Now the seal was broken and all Hell was breaking loose.

Ishizu was worried about him. He could vaguely hear her through the pounding in his skull, asking him what was wrong. He couldn't answer her. He didn't know.

"Let me out," the voice whispered. He hadn't heard it in over a year, but he recognized it. The protector he had created, the one who was supposed to help Marik! Maybe . . . maybe he could help Rishid. . . . Maybe he could punish their father for the outrage he had just committed. . . .

But . . . why was he trying to force his way out? Why was he so insistent? It didn't feel like he wanted to protect anyone. It felt like he just wanted out . . . that he just wanted to kill something, anything. Everything.

Marik didn't realize it, but he had been screaming. He didn't want this being to take over! He didn't! . . . And yet, part of him did.

His last scream died, fading into a deeper tone as he was the one pushed into the back of his mind. The next words that were spoken were his and yet not his at the same time.

"I'm finally free."

Title: Heaven and Hell
Day/Prompt: May 9th - Heaven and Hell were words to me
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Marik Ishtar, Rishid Ishtar
Rating/Warning(s): K+ (post-series)

Marik sat on the Ishtars' porch swing in Domino City, his feet up on the wooden railing. That sort of casual behavior was more like Yami Bakura, but sometimes he liked the freedom to be able to do things like that without being ordered to stop. He folded his arms, gazing out across the lawn as an autumn breeze gently moved through his hair.

"Marik?"

He looked up at the sound of Rishid's voice. "Rishid . . . hello." He smiled a bit, but it was clear he was still deep in thought.

Rishid walked over to the swing. "Are you alright, Brother?"

Brother. . . . How good it felt to hear Rishid say that! Foreign in a way, since he had been Master Marik to Rishid all of his life. But at last he and Ishizu had convinced Rishid that there was no longer any need for such titles. He had always been their brother. There was no reason for him not to respond in kind.

"I'm alright now." Marik moved the swing under him, not much, but enough to rock gently back and forth. "But I was thinking how I used to read in books about the different afterlifes. I couldn't really comprehend what they were like. Heaven . . . what was that? A realm of light . . . of goodness and peace and happiness? And Hell . . . a fiery abyss, an endless torment?" He shook his head. "They were just words I couldn't understand."

"And now?" Rishid asked.

"I know what Hell is. Without a doubt, I've experienced it. But so have you and Ishizu and everyone else that evil being tortured."

Rishid couldn't deny that. He couldn't imagine a worse Hell than what Marik had gone through while his Yami had grown in power and cruelty with each new victim.

"But ever since that nightmare ended, I've started to learn what Heaven is." Marik looked up at Rishid with complete conviction. "Right here, right now . . . this is a large piece of it. When Ishizu gets home from the museum, it will be complete."

Rishid smiled. "Yes," he agreed. "You understand well, Brother. True Heaven involves loved ones." Marik stopped rocking the swing and Rishid sat down next to him.

Marik smiled too. How right Rishid was, and how glad Marik was that he had learned that lesson in time. He would never forget it again.

Title: Out of the Shadows
Day/Prompt: May 17th - Flowers grow where I'm laid to rest
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Character/Pairing: Marik Ishtar, Yami Marik, Yami Bakura, Rishid Ishtar, Ishizu Ishtar
Rating/Warning(s): K+ (post-series, in my verse where Yami Bakura survives Zorc's destruction and is charged with learning how to use a magical item for good)

The cruel cackle cut through the night as Marik fell backwards off the hill. Even while he tumbled over and over himself to the grassy bottom, the creature's words were still ringing in his ears.

"It's all over, Marik!" Yami Marik had boasted in delight. "The Spirit of the Ring has been defeated. He's gone now, faded into the shadows. And this time, he won't be coming back. I took the Infinity Ring away from him."

Marik had stared at him in horror. "No! . . ."

"Without the Ring, he can no longer sustain a mortal form. More to the point, his spirit reverts to the way it was upon Zorc's destruction, torn in ribbons. Add that to losing a Shadow Game and he's failed Shadi's little test. He's probably been permanently assimilated into the darkness by now. And he's only the first victim of the night! You're next!"

Yami Marik had wanted to fight a Shadow Game on the landscapes of their minds. Outraged, and determined to somehow keep him from winning, Marik had agreed. But he was out of practice with Shadow Games, and he had never played one like this to begin with. Now, as he crashed down the hill to lay among the wildflowers, he realized with a sinking heart that everyone's suspicions were correct—Yami Marik continued to grow stronger the longer he inhabited the Shadow Realm, only coming out to torment people some more. Since he had been created from the darkness in Marik's heart, he was perfectly at home in the Shadow Realm. It could not destroy him.

"Goodnight, Marik," Yami Marik mockingly said from somewhere above him.

Marik had hit his head on a hard patch of ground during his descent. He had to stay awake, somehow . . . but he knew he wasn't going to. He groaned, sinking out of consciousness despite his best efforts.
****
"Marik!"

"Oh Marik, can you hear us?!"

Slowly Marik's eyes opened. He was laying in Rishid's arms while he and Ishizu looked down at him in fear and concern. The tall grass and the wildflowers blew around them in the night breeze.

"I . . . I'm alive?" Marik mumbled in surprise.

Ishizu nodded in relief, brushing the hair away from Marik's face. "Thanks to Yami Bakura."

"What? . . ." Marik twisted around, stunned to see the character standing over them, his arms folded over his bare chest. He was appearing in Thief King form tonight, and at the moment, was only wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals. And the Infinity Ring, of course. It shone under the moonlight. "But . . . he said you were gone. . . ."

Something flickered in Yami Bakura's lavender eyes and he looked away. "Yes, well . . . obviously I wasn't as gone as he thought. He said he was going after you next, so after I made it back from the shadows, I gathered your brother and sister and led them here."

"We arrived just as he was about to kill you," Rishid said, outrage filling his voice that Yami Marik had ever dared try such a thing.

"Now he's back in the shadows," Yami Bakura said, "but from past experience, he won't be there for long."

"At least you're both safe," Ishizu said with a smile.

Marik slowly sat up on the grass. He and Yami Bakura weren't friends and barely got along, but he was most certainly grateful to the former thief tonight. Not to mention, happy that he hadn't been destroyed.

"Thank you," he said quietly.

"I wanted to get rid of him anyway," Yami Bakura grunted.

Marik smirked a bit. Yes, that was the sort of thing Yami Bakura would always say when someone realized he had done something kind or helpful. But Bakura would insist that Yami Bakura honestly didn't want the person hurt, either, and now that Yami Bakura wasn't poisoned and driven insane by Zorc, Marik could believe it.