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




---------------------------


Back at base camp, it still amazed Yuugi that desert nights were so cold. Before his first trip to Egypt, Ryou had advised him to bring along blankets. Blankets, in a scorching hot desert? The thought alone! But Yuugi soon found out that after the sun set, the very dry air of the desert, holding little moisture, cooled off considerably, resulting into very low temperatures at night. On his next trips, Yuugi had obediently brought along a stack of blankets, as well as pajamas. This night wasn’t different from any other night, and he tried to keep himself warm. Despite pulling a veritable mountain of blankets on top of him, he just couldn’t seem to create a comfortable position, let alone fall asleep. Yuugi stared in front of him. Nobody had questioned why he retreated so early for the night. He was just the assistant of sahib Bakura, he didn’t really have a word of importance in the excavation or the expedition. Sure, Ryou valued his advice and his knowledge, but Yuugi wasn’t an Egyptologist like his friend; his parents had never been able to afford the tuition. It really didn’t matter. He had learned on the job, from traveling and working together with Ryou. He had made a living for himself, albeit simple and plain, but he had never asked for much. The traditional woolen tent he slept in, was more than enough. It was divided in a compartment for himself and for Ryou, so they both had some privacy.

Yuugi rolled on his back. He tried to figure out what was bothering him. I am here. No no no, that wasn’t bothering him! That was just a stupid prank. That voice, so clear and audible, speaking straight to him. An elaborate prank perhaps, but a prank nonetheless. Yuugi wasn’t going to bother finding out who was responsible for it. It was of no use, he told himself. No, it had to be something else. Perhaps he was dissatisfied with his life at the moment? Perhaps he was jealous at guys like Jounouchi and Honda, who held corporate jobs, who had an apartment and probably a wife and kids somewhere; a steady paycheck, a future laid out for them. And MutouYuugi? Toiling and struggling for the rest of his life? His mother had insisted on a good education, but due to their family situation, money had been tight and Yuugi had happily dropped out of college when Ryou asked for his help. Find the tomb of a long forgotten, nameless Pharaoh, what could be more exciting than that? Yuugi stared at the ceiling now, unable to fall asleep. Outside, the regular noise of people talking and whispering, music and generic other sounds were audible. Usually, that would make him drift off quite quickly, but this night… no, it was the nameless Pharaoh who bothered him. Yuugi knew the importance of a name in the Ancient Egyptian culture. To be stricken from the records, to be erased from history, was something so grave that it unnerved Yuugi. Had this Pharaoh been such a bad person, or had his successor erased every reference to him out of political or personal reasons? Or had he been a tyrant, had he done such horrible things that everyone wanted to forget him? It was hard to imagine.

With a sigh, Yuugi rolled on his other side. He knew what was bothering him. He felt lonely. Ryou was absorbed with his excavation and his obsession for this nameless Pharaoh. The workers had each other, Jounouchi and Honda were coworkers and friends… and there was no one to comfort Yuugi. He knew that most people liked him, but well... not like-like. He wanted someone to curl up next to him, wrap an arm around him, hold him and caress him… and those were strange thoughts, all of the sudden, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night. Why was he even thinking this? Get a grip on yourself. Just because you heard a voice, that doesn’t mean your whole life is turned upside down. And it was just crazy that he was forming some sort of a bond with a nameless Pharaoh, just as alone as him. Yuugi tried to snort. Maybe he was feeling sympathy for a mass murderer! No, there had to be someone else he could talk to. Malik. The guide was also alone. His family lived somewhere near Cairo, hours away from either the base camp or the excavation site, so it wasn’t like Malik could go home and return to work the next morning. However, the Egyptian wasn’t all that friendly or approachable. But Yuugi remembered the way he had been staring into nothingness, with that shocked look on his face… what had happened to him? Maybe… maybe he had heard that voice too? Well, he couldn’t sleep anyway. Yuugi got out of bed and left the tent, but not without draping a blanket around him. The camp site was strewn with tents and at this hour, only a few of the workers were still awake, along with Ryou and the two representatives of KaibaCorp.: Jounouchi and Honda. Yuugi ignored them for now as they were caught up in a discussion over a small campfire anyway. He traipsed through the camp, in search for Malik. Yuugi didn’t even know, much to his own embarrassment, in which tent Malik stayed. Soon enough, he found the guide, next to the washing facilities.

“Excuse me, Malik-kun,” Yuugi said, his voice low but not soft enough to not be overheard. Despite his announcement, Malik was startled again. He turned around warily.

“Oh, it’s you,” he said brusquely.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Yuugi offered his apologies.

“I was lost in thought.”

“About what we discovered?”

“I don’t call a side entrance to Hatshepsut’s palace a discovery,” Malik snorted.

“Someone put her cartouche over another one.”

“Welcome to Ancient Egyptian history,” Malik said. “We fuck up cartouches.”

“Please, Malik-kun. I’m trying to keep a civilized conversation with you.”

“Why? You’re not the one signing my paychecks.”

“You heard a voice, didn’t you?” Yuugi said. He didn’t want to be just as brusque as Malik, but he had an inkling that this was the only way to get a reaction out of the other; and from the way Malik’s eyes widened, he knew he’d been right.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” The guide’s voice lacked vehemence and he didn’t stomp off like he used to. After a moment of silence, he said, reluctantly: “You too?”

“I thought it was a prank,” Yuugi said, relieved to hear Malik’s confession. “But the voice spoke in Ancient Egyptian, and the majority of the workers speak modern-day Egyptian… besides, I don’t actually see anyone around here pulling pranks. Everyone’s working so hard and is totally serious. What… what did it say to you?”

“It didn’t really… say something.” Malik looked over his shoulders, as if he was afraid of being overheard. “I… it wasn’t really a word.”

“What did you hear, then?”

“Nothing! I mean…” He heaved a sigh. “It laughed at me. A dark, deep laugh. I don’t know what to make of it.”

“Laughed?” Yuugi parroted. Malik looked at him, gauging his reaction. Yuugi had no intention to mock him. He could feel the other’s unease and tried to think desperately of an explanation, but nothing he could come up with, matched the voice he had heard; that rich, deep, commanding voice. “The voice I heard, said ‘I’m here’.”

“Strange.” Malik fidgeted.

“What’s the matter, Malik-kun?”

“I… I’m somehow glad that you heard something as well. My sister… she sometimes mentions that there’s a certain darkness tied to our family. We’re descendants from a very ancient clan, a Tomb Keepers clan. She never went into detail and I never gave it much thought. I’m just doing my job, you know? I know the environment, I know my history… it was a logical choice for me to get myself into the desert… I actually like it out here. But now I wonder if I made the wrong choice, and if that darkness is getting to me.”

“Malik-kun, I’m sure your sister had a good reason to tell you about it,” Yuugi said. “The next time you’re in Cairo, you can ask her about it.”

“Yes, but the supply run isn’t going to be for another week,” Malik said. “I’m not sure if I can… hold on, you know?”

“You can always come to me if things are getting difficult for you,” Yuugi said. He probably was mistaken, but did he see a hint of a grateful smile on Malik’s face? “After all, I’m hearing voices too, remember?”

“Is that why you’re outside with a blanket around you?”

Only now did Yuugi notice that Malik was wearing a shirt and a sleeveless, thin vest. “You don’t mind the cold?”

“I only mind the darkness,” Malik answered promptly and this time he walked away quickly, leaving Yuugi completely befuddled.


---------------------------------------



The next day, Yuugi awoke late in the morning, much to his surprise. He grabbed his clothes, dressed himself and ran out of the tent, looking for Ryou. The workers told him that he had already left for the excavation site. Yuugi was flustered and embarrassed. How could Ryou leave him behind like this, sleeping in as if he had all the time in the world? Fortunately, the second shift of workers was about to leave, so he could travel along with them. Yuugi was glad to see Malik, having returned from the excavation site, patting a camel.

“Malik-kun, did you sleep well last night?” he asked.

“Yes,” the guide answered, abrasive as ever, even though his tone of voice towards Yuugi had mellowed out quite a bit. “Are you ready to come along?”

“You heard the voice again?” Yuugi asked softly. Malik shook his head, sending his golden earrings flying with the movement.

“I stayed away from that wall as far as possible.” He motioned at the workers. “Yalla, yalla!

Chattering and bustling, the workers gathered together, carrying their tools and provisions, pulling the camels along and loading them up with their supplies. Yuugi climbed upon the smallest camel and tried to ignore the strange sensation running through his body. He was excited and frightened at the same time, how could that be? Malik gave the sign that they were leaving. Yuugi made sure to wrap his head, neck and shoulders with protective fabric and slathered sunscreen on his exposed face. The heat wasn’t that bad, sunstroke sure would be. The camel rose up to its feet and Yuugi went along smoothly with the animal’s movements. After so long in the desert, he had gotten used to this mode of transportation, unlike Ryou who still regarded camels as evil. The excavation site was too remote and located in too rough terrain to be reached by a vehicle, if they had been able to afford them - but Yuugi knew that Ryou was very happy with a guide like Malik, who could read the desert and its constantly, treacherously changing landscape like an open book. Without much further ado, Malik guided the group to the excavation side and as soon as his camel lied down, Yuugi got off and hurried to find his friend. Ryou was at the ‘office’, the large tent with all the equipment they owned and the fold-out furniture, providing seats and a few tables to work at.

“Good morning Ryou-kun, Jounouchi-kun!”

“There you are,” Ryou smiled at him. Jounouchi returned the greeting, looking amused.

“Why didn’t you wake me up this morning?” Yuugi all but pouted.

“You looked worn-out when you retreated for the night,” Ryou said. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you, Yuugi-kun. I figured you could use a good night of sleep.”

“Well… ehm… thank you. What were you talking about?”

Jounouchi showed him a piece of paper, the readings of the device that had measured the depth and density behind the uncovered wall. “Your friend tells me that it wasn’t uncommon in ancient times to fill up the dug tunnels and hallways with sand and debris, sealing it off as to make it difficult for tomb robbers to enter and plunder.”

“Don’t forget the hands of time,” Yuugi said. “Structures got weaker and more prone to collapse as time passed. But Ryou-kun’s right, of course; many archeologists and fortune seekers got confused or discouraged when they stumbled upon large amounts of debris, not realizing that the actual treasure was close by. Not everyone had the materials to remove all the rubble.”

“Jounouchi-san wants to try to break through the wall,” Ryou said. He didn’t sound excited, but not too unhappy either. “What do you think, Yuugi?”

“I think it’s worth a try.”

“It’s the only option we’ve got.” Ryou’s eyes darted over to his father’s journal. He hadn’t looked into it today, but still…

“It’s not really ‘breaking through the wall’, as in, destroying it,” Jounouchi said. “I know the value of all of this. I just want to make a small opening, as to see…”

Yuugi listened to him, when a thought suddenly popped up in his mind. “Jounouchi-kun, may I borrow that device of yours?” he asked, interrupting the other.

“Huh? Oh yes, sure,” Jounouchi answered, confused. Even Ryou looked at Yuugi, not used to his friend being so abrupt. Yuugi grabbed the device with the KaibaCorp. logo on it and all but hurried to the excavation. Mahmoud and the two brothers Fatih and Youssef greeted him, also quite surprised to see him run past them. Yuugi went to the spot with the cartouche on it, and listened for a while. Nothing. He didn’t know whether to feel relieved or disappointed.

“Did you hear the voice here?” Now it was Yuugi’s turn to startle. Malik simply grinned at him, not bothered by Yuugi’s angry look - Yuugi looking angry made as much impression as a kitten trying to pounce.

“Yes,” he answered truthfully.

“I don’t understand why you keep returning to this. It’s just a cartouche. So it’s been altered, what’s the big deal?”

“It was overwritten. Wiping out the name of a son of the Gods! It has to mean something.”

“Come on Yuugi, so many people and names got trampled upon in history. We don’t even know half what happened, so many cultures, civilizations and knowledge got lost. So what?”

“The voice said I’m here, right here!” Yuugi tapped on the cartouche. “Why would it specifically speak to me, but here?”

“What do you mean..?” Malik watched as Yuugi pointed the device at the part of the wall with the cartouche. It started rattling and beeping, numbers appearing on the small display screen. It printed the readings and Yuugi pulled out the slip of paper.

“What does it say?”

“I’m not sure,” Yuugi said.

“Let me see.” Jounouchi had followed them, out of barely hidden curiosity. He took the paper and the device from Yuugi and studied it briefly. “How… why did you look exactly here?”

“I thought there was something strange about the cartouche,” Yuugi said. He wasn’t going to tell Jounouchi about any voices he heard. “It’s obviously altered, so…”

“That’s just genius!” Jounouchi waved the readouts in front of Yuugi’s face. “This shows that it’s much less dense here than what we measured at the wall! We were looking in the wrong direction all time long!”

“Really?” Malik asked.

“Yeah, really!” Jounouchi was thrilled. “We’ve got to set up our equipment at this position and start opening it up right away!”

“But the cartouche,” Yuugi protested.

“It will be preserved, of course,” Jounouchi reassured him. “We’ve got the latest in KaibaCorp. technology and equipment. We can make it look like nothing’s ever happened! Not a scratch on the surface! Honda! Honda! Get your ass over here!”

He ran away, yelling his orders, calling out for Ryou and the workers. Yuugi and Malik remained standing in front of the cartouche, both looking saddened.

“I’m not sure if this is the right way,” Malik said. “I have a bad feeling about all of this, no matter how cliché it sounds.”

“I’m not sure either,” Yuugi agreed. His heart was light, but his mind felt heavy. Was he really doing any good with all of this? Had he unleashed something good or evil? Excitement and fear… and Malik seemed to feel the same. To make matters worse, there was no voice at the moment, no words to comfort him. Yuugi noticed his hands trembling. He would give anything to hear that voice again, right now, to hear that strange comfort of knowing that whoever it was, he was here.


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