the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="torakaka"> (Yu-Gi-Oh! - Puzzleshipping fics)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: Matarab leena ahbaab (Return our loved ones to us)
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Pairings: Yuumeishipping ('yami' x 'hikari')
Genre: (AU) supernatural, romance
Warnings: sappy angst and melodrama.
Summary: Bakura Ryou, renowned archaeologist, has followed into the footsteps of his father, working for the government at an excavation site in Egypt. After discovering the palace of a long forgotten Pharaoh, Ryou, together with his good friend Yugi and the local guide Malik, is suddenly pulled into a series of events that will change his life forever.

Key: ----- = scene change



“Ryou-kun, don’t get discouraged.”


“I’m not discouraged.”

“You’re pouting.”

“I’m not pouting.”

Yuugi held another bottle of water in front of Ryou, and shook it. His friend was prone to forget to drink, even in this suffocating hot weather, and especially when he was disappointed. His eyes went to the journal, battered and torn from all the years of intense use. Ryou had thumbed so often through it, it was a miracle it was still held together by its leathery cover.

“What was that? What did you say?” Yuugi asked, as he heard Ryou mumble something.

“What if my father was wrong? What if I’m wrong? What if this is all a failure..?”

“Then we go back to Japan, find ourselves some boring jobs and try to pick up our lives again,” Yuugi said with far more enthusiasm than he felt. He wasn’t too keen on returning though; he had family living in Domino City, Japan, and it would be great to be back home - but Egypt was also his home, he loved it here. Ryou on the other hand, had no family left, and if this excavation truly ended up in a failure, it would be extremely hard to take. His friend would be devastated, destroyed…

“I could never pay KaibaCorp. back,” Ryou said. “All that funding, all that money…”

“Hey, it’s the risk they took.” Yuugi made sure to not say it out loud, and he looked over his shoulder to make sure the KaibaCorp. representatives weren’t around to hear it. Hiroto Honda usually stayed at the base camp, but today he was with Jounouchi Katsuya at this dig site, currently overseeing the work at the stairs. Yuugi got along with them quite nicely, but he didn’t forget what they were truly here for: to protect their boss’ investment. Kaiba Seto, CEO of KaibaCorp., was obscenely rich. His interest in Ancient Egypt wasn’t personal or emotional, just pure business. Ryou had never asked why, what or how - he had already been ecstatic that someone wanted to fund him. And yes, even though it was a risk, Kaiba Seto only ran the risk of not getting an Ancient Egyptian artifact out of all of this. No matter what happened, Ryou was going to have to pay back all this funding, at a murderous interest rate. It was a huge burden, and a great stress on Ryou. Financial, emotional… it was truly going to kill him if this wasn’t going to work out. “We’ll find a way, Ryou-kun.”

Ryou wanted to snort derisively, but he found he couldn’t. The last thing he wanted to do, was to slap Yuugi in the face and mock his optimism. He needed his friend’s positive energy, and especially now. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Booting up the laptop,” Yuugi answered. He stared at Ryou. “What? Do you want me to do nothing?”

“Never mind.” He unscrewed the cap of the water bottle and drank the cool liquid. “Sorry. I shouldn’t take it out on you.”

“All is not lost.” Yuugi smiled at him. He connected the camera to the laptop and started uploading the pictures he took from the cartouche they had found on the exposed wall. “Even if it’s another side entrance to Hatshepshut’s temple, it’s still a discovery, Ryou-kun.”

“You’re right.” Ryou appreciated Yuugi’s attempt to cheer him up. “You’re not going to draw?”

“Nah, later.” Yuugi was one of the very few people who still drew the ancient artifacts, the only way to copy the objects before photography became the standard. He preferred drawing, as it made him feel more connected to the artifact; he really disliked pictures, they felt hollow and lifeless to him. Still, Yuugi didn’t deny the importance of photography and even though he had an uncanny eye for details, today’s technology was able to pick up on so much more than the naked eye ever could. Yuugi’s love for the ‘old fashioned’ craft of drawing by hand was, of course, instilled to him by his grandfather who had visited Egypt himself in his younger years.

Ryou left his father’s diary alone while he watched Yuugi working. The pictures appeared on the screen and he couldn’t help but to take a look as well. Yuugi enhanced the picture of the cartouche and studied it.

“It looks like there’s some damage here,” he pointed at the screen. Ryou scooted a little closer.

“Where?”

“Right here. See the jagged edges of this line?”

“It goes all the way down here. See?”

Yuugi squinted at the screen. “Yes, you’re right. It looks like this cartouche has been carved on top of another one.”

“That’s not uncommon. Certain Pharaohs destroyed every mention or appearance of their predecessor.”

“I don’t think I can make out what the original cartouche was.”

“Yuugi, if you could do that, you’d be a superhuman.”

He made a noncommittal sound but started fiddling with the software anyway. Ryou focused his attention to his own paperwork. It was getting close to lunchtime and the workers moved around to make small campfires to prepare tea and food. Mahmoud approached the open tent, looking a little disappointed.

“Mahmoud, do you have any news?” Ryou asked.

“So sorry, sahib Bakura,” the man answered. “The stairs are free, but they end at a wall, not an entrance.”

Ryou felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. “Another wall? Can you break through it?”

“Jouch.. Jech…”, he had quite the difficulty speaking Jounouchi’s name, so he cleared his throat and continued: “Kaiba-man is measuring the wall, sahib Bakura.”

“Yeah sure, why not, he has the equipment,” Ryou said bitterly. Mahmoud looked at him in shock, thinking that the other was mad at him. Ryou hurried to put the man at ease. “Everything’s fine, Mahmoud. Go have some lunch with your men, take all the time you need.”

Shukran, sahib,” Mahmoud said and left the tent again. Yuugi had followed the conversation, but before Ryou could say anything, he blurted out: “Don’t even think of it, Ryou-kun.”

He wanted to growl. Not even the laptop Yuugi was working on, was his own. But how could he have traveled to Egypt and set up this excavation, without funding? He didn’t like being dependent on others, but he didn’t have much of a choice, especially when it considered money.

“Let’s have some lunch ourselves.” He got up from his chair and rubbed over his lower back. Most of the workers had their cooking fires started and delicious scents wafted towards Yuugi and Ryou. Their own culinary skills were pitiful - Yuugi knew how to cook a couple of dishes, but Ryou didn’t even bother: he could make water burn. They sauntered over to a modest fire, with Mahmoud and the brothers Fatih and Youssef tossing ingredients, skillets and utensils at each other, preparing themselves a nice meal of ful medames. Ryou opened the cooler box he had brought along from the base camp and distributed the cold drinks. Yuugi passed out the aish, the typical Egyptian pocket bread, a staple of this cuisine. The atmosphere was amicable and nice, even when the two KaibaCorp. representatives decided to join them.

“Jounouchi-kun, Honda-kun… do you want some bread?” Yuugi held up the basket.

“Thank you, Yuugi,” Jounouchi said, his speech pattern a lot less polite. It didn’t mean that he disrespected Yuugi, it was just the way he spoke. His friend and colleague was just the same; Honda simply nodded and took some of the bread.

“What’s that about a wall?” Ryou asked, when everyone had his plate full. Jounouchi patted beside him, on a piece of equipment Yuugi didn’t recognize.

“This is a device to measure depth and density,” Jounouchi explained. “Patent pending KaibaCorp., yadda yadda. In any case…” he dropped a long moment of silence to stuff his face with food, “…from what we could measure, there’s nothing but sand behind that wall. No open space. The device registered nothing but mass.”

Ryou couldn’t hide the disappointment -again!- on his face. Yuugi slouched. “I can’t believe my father would mess up the coordinates,” Ryou said.

Jounouchi didn’t see the problem. “There’s a lot of ground to cover, and your permit isn’t going to expire anytime soon. The workers here seem to like and respect you, so they won’t be running off to somewhere else.”

“I just wish I could find what my father was looking for, or rather, who.”

“Ryou-kun…” Yuugi had spoken the word ‘obsession’ before, albeit hesitantly. Ryou knew what his friend wanted to say, and tried to smile at him, even though it was a little strained.

“Yes, I know. I should lighten up. You’re right, Jounouchi-san, I’m impatient.”

“Hey, we all understand that this means very much to you.” Jounouchi helped himself to another plate, amusing the workers with his appetite. “And we’re here to help you, because this is a KaibaCorp. investment.”

“Jounouchi-kun, every time you mention ‘KaibaCorp’, your eye twitches,” Yuugi said. “Something the matter?”

Honda grinned. “Don’t worry about it! We both work for Kaiba, but we don’t like the man himself. He’s… quite the character.”

“So I’ve heard.” Ryou finished his lunch with a sip of cool water. When he was negotiating his funding, he had spoken to Kaiba’s younger brother, Mokuba. He was the Vice President and much easier to approach than the elusive CEO.

“Ahh, spicy,” Honda said and accepted another bottle of water. They helped the workers to clean up and soon after, everyone returned to what they were doing before. Yuugi wanted to take a look at the cartouche again; the original one on the wall, not on the laptop. He took his drawing utensils and a magnifying glass and went to the stairs, when he saw Malik standing over there, staring blankly into the desert.

“Everything all right, Malik-kun?”

The guide visibly startled; a slight panic spread over his face before he gathered his bearings and noticed Yuugi standing next to him.

“I’m fine,” he said curtly.

“You look like something bad has happened.”

“I’m fine,” Malik repeated. “When’s the work day over? I want to go back to the base camp. You certainly can find your own way back?”

“Malik-kun, please, no,” Yuugi said, shocked. The desert was a terribly difficult place to navigate, and to struggle in the sand without a guide… the thought was so horrible that it made him shiver. “You can’t leave us here. We need you!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Malik turned away from him. “What are you going to do?”

“I want to take another look at the cartouche,” Yuugi said, holding up his drawing utensils.

“Have fun with that.” The guide all but stomped off. Yuugi scratched his head. What was wrong with him? Sure, Malik had been abrasive before, but not like this… he took a step to the side to let the workers pass with baskets of sand and rubble. Yuugi went further down the stairs until he reached the cartouche. Down below, both Jounouchi and Honda were in front of the uncovered wall, with Mahmoud gesturing and talking to them. Apparently they were discussing about how to advance; it annoyed Yuugi a little, because Ryou was the one to take the executive decision. KaibaCorp funding my ass, Yuugi thought and blushed at such coarse language. They’re only here to make Ryou-kun look second best.

He put his thoughts aside and concentrated on the cartouche. Using his magnifying glass, he looked at it up close and inspected the jagged edges. Yes, this had definitely been altered. Yuugi closed himself off from the noises and activities around him. Carefully, with a gloved hand, he brushed away some sand. He took in all the details, searching for more signs… I am here. He dropped the magnifying glass and Yuugi stepped away from the wall. Where did that voice come from? Nobody was paying attention to him. Honda, Jounouchi and Mahmoud were still discussing, the workers were still passing him with baskets of sand and debris. Yuugi touched his own forehead, not surprised to find a little sweat. It was smothering hot; he was suffering from sunstroke. Hearing voices! He shrugged awkwardly and picked up his magnifying glass, that hadn’t suffered from its fall. Yuugi used it again to look at the cartouche, concentrated once more. Maybe Malik had heard that voice too? The guide had been so off-balanced, and never before had he asked when they were going to move back to the base camp. Something had spooked him… and yeah, a disembodied voice would do the trick. Yuugi frowned. Why was he even thinking about it? It had to be a prank or something, perhaps the wind… but the wind didn’t speak Ancient Egyptian and he was sure he had heard it right. I am here. Again! Yuugi gasped. The same voice! The words… they were a statement, a matter-of-fact statement, not a question, or a plea… once again, Yuugi looked around him, convinced it was an unfunny prank… but still nobody was paying attention to him, all too occupied with their own work. Sunstroke, definitely. Yuugi turned away from the wall and quickly ascended the stairs, all but running back to the tent.





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