Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh, nor do I make any money from writing this fanfic.

Challenge Name and Number: #071, Control
Drabble Title: Strands of Fate
Word Count: 600
Warnings (if applicable): It's also a bit weird in that "supernatural beings playing games with our lives" sort of way.
Pairings (if applicable): Peachshipping, in a stop and think for a moment type of way.
Summary: The game started the moment the wish was made.
Author's Note: This drabble is the result excessive caffeine intake the past week (go finals!), lack of sleep, and YGO's obsession with destiny/fate. I hope you can tell who's who within this – and I do recognize I've forgotten quite a few of the minor characters, but, alas, 600 word limit, so I had to pick and choose.

I wish . . . I wish for true friends! Friend that I will never betray, and friends that will never betray me!

A golden box.

A shattered protector.

A nightmarish creature.

It was a simple wish – one of childish desperation, of loneliness. The evil creature stirred, and the game was afoot once more.

Here was a red string, tying a boy to a girl. A claw slashed through it, breaking it in two.

Here was a pair of strands – these children were supposed to be adopted by a loving family. The creature laughed, searched for an appropriately dark and evil strand, and tangled them together into a snarl of misery.

A third collection of strands, four in all, happily entwined in a life of happiness and love. The creature touched the braid, laughing maniacally as malice and vice poisoned it, causing it to unravel.

A fourth collection, five strands in all, hidden from the others, but spotted anyway. The creature paused – what to do next? A diabolical idea. An evil grin. A breath of madness, despair, and hatred. They twisted, writhed, and tangled as the taint settled in.

And the final string, white in its purity and potential for both good and evil, intertwined with the love of a family he treasured dearly. The creature grinned before running his fingers around the strand, coating and corrupting it with his dark power.

"Your move," he gleefully crowed. "And remember, this is my realm. What's free for me, is equivalent exchange for you."

The protector looked at the changed fates, and wept a little inside. Here and there, surrounding strands twisted, separated, and reformed, each adjusting to the warped darkness the creature had so liberally applied. Grim and determined, the protector set to work.

He looked at the broken red string, and tied it back together as best as he could, leaving wisps of his shadowy self between them. In exchange, he forgot Mana and Mahaado, his two childhood friends.

He looked ruefully at the snarled tangle and the two dangling ends; why he was filled with regret looking at the strands, he was unsure. But he twirled them together anyway, before tying them back to their original destiny. In exchange, he forgot his father, the man who showed him wisdom, strength, and compassion – the three things that made for a great leader.

Within the poisoned third collection, a single strand resisted, and the protector, out of admiration, imbued it with courage and perseverance, before entwining it with the first boy's string. That, the protector hoped, would be enough. In exchange, he forgot the members of his court, who supported and advised him at every corner.

The fourth collection had become little more than a warped spiral of madness and vengeance, far too strong for the protector to undo. Taking the far ends, he entwined the three dangling strands with that of the boy's. In exchange, he forgot the massacre, the event that started this grand game of destiny.

And the final string, the protector reached out to it, only to hear echoing laughter. There was nothing he could do, other than fight. Regretfully, he reached out for the first string of fate with a shadowed hand.

"I'm sorry," he murmured to the string, before addressing the gleefully grinning creature, "This may be your world, but I don't forget, I never lose."

With that, he forgot the last vestige of his identity – his name.

And in that same moment, the door was opened, a wish was granted, and the next turn started.