There were too many hours in the day, and too few spent at school and the contact with the living world. His home was bare of life besides himself and the Voice wasn’t living, he was just a presence to reach out to.
No, he was quite alone when home; his father away at work (once again leaving as soon as he had arrived) while his mother and sister departed from the world. It was what brought him here to the park.
His tiny body sat on the park bench and he watched as the other children would play with each other. He wanted to join in, wanted to take part, but the others would always stay clear of him.
He wasn’t a freak! He was just… different… That wasn’t a bad thing though. Well he was told that made him special, and people don’t like special. A soft wistful sigh was uttered and he looked down and fiddled with his shirt.
He sniffed and rubbed his eyes, there would be no tears. He was a big boy, and big boys didn’t cry.
The sunlight was slanted from the hour, casting long, dark shadows. The first breeze of evening was stirring, and Malik was hungry.
Malik couldn’t cook. A few days ago was his first time using a microwave, and he exploded the burrito he had been trying to reheat, and it still managed to be the greatest feat of food preparation he’d ever accomplished. So now he was on his way to the nearest convenience store, to pick up something precooked before he settled in with his laptop and battered DVD of Easy Rider.
He was two blocks away when it hit him like an ice pick to the spine.
Gravedirt, cold wind, the purr of shuffling cards. Blood and fire and shadows that moved on their own. A Millennium Item. The hole in his soul felt it as surely as an old wound felt a change in barometric pressure.
Malik stopped dead in his tracks and focused on the feeling until it overwhelmed him, ringing in his ears.
“Sir, are you alright?”
He glanced up. A strange man was frowning at him. He nodded quickly and started walking, following the thread of magic that fluttered before him like the only draft in a sealed room.
The Millennium Items were gone. Gone! How did they come back? And who had them? He had to call Ishizu. But first, he had to find the source.
He followed it until he reached… a playground?
There was the source. A white-haired child whose face… whose face…
(He had dismissed the stranger on the internet, combing his fingers through his hair and nearly breaking something at the thought that someone had made him… with false words…)
“Ryou Bakura,” he said, cold to his toes.
The Voice had been silent recently. From what Ryou could guess by the few words he had spoken to him before, he was angry at him. The Voice never minded when he talked to others about him before, he even encouraged it, so why was he so angry?
“I’m sorry…” The child spoke aloud to him to show his sincerity. There was no response though. Nothing; not even the warmth of acknowledgement that the child craved. He cared not if the others around him thought him strange for talking to himself.
“Fine!” He huffed crossing his arms and pouted. “I don’t want to talk to you either.” He was so sure that this would force the Voice to speak that he missed the approach of the stranger; he did however hear his name being called.
Instantly he looked down at his Ring hidden under his shirt but there was nothing. His eyes shifted over to where he assumed he was called from and smiled.
“Oh? Hello.” His tiny eyes blinked rapidly as he tried to place a name with the face of the one before him. “I don’t mean to be rude, but do I know you? Do you work with my daddy?” The skin color and features of the other reminded him of the people his father worked with when he was allowed to go with him.
“I’m sorry… But if we have met I think I lost your name someplace.”