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


Yuugi had no time to realize what was going on. One second, he was standing on solid ground; the next he was falling into complete darkness. A loud cry escaped him and he scraped his elbows and knees, even bumping his head against the walls of this small shaft he was falling through. He couldn’t even move his arms to grab the wall, to do something to stop his rapid descent. Fear and adrenaline shot through him and his heart thumped in his chest, louder and faster. I’m going to die, was his last thought when suddenly the shaft widened and he hit the ground, feet first. Crying out in pain, his knees buckled and he slumped, falling on his left side. The pain was overwhelming and he gasped. Yuugi tried to regain control of his breathing, but nothing could’ve prepared him for falling down and the abrupt halt of his momentum. He remained lying still, listening to his own erratic breathing. He was surrounded by utter darkness. He didn’t know where his flashlight was. Had he dropped it? His backpack… there was a reserve flashlight in his backpack, and a couple of glow sticks. Yuugi mentally thanked Ryou for all his lectures and lessons in preparation. He took off his backpack, wincing from the painful movements, and he pulled out the spare flashlight. As soon as he switched it on, he heaved a sigh of relief, comforted by the small ray of light.

“Ryou-kun? Malik-kun?” His voice quavered. He repeated the names, a little louder this time - to no avail. Slowly, he got back on his feet. Miraculously, nothing was broken or sprained, but his body had taken quite the hit. It felt like all his muscles were on fire. Yuugi shivered. It was cold in here, wherever ‘here’ was. He had no idea how much deeper under the ground he was, separated from Malik and Ryou… He recalled packing a vest earlier, so he took out the garment and put it on. Desert nights were quite cold, exploring unknown tombs could be even colder… still shivering, Yuugi waved his flashlight around some more. He should’ve known about traps, of course, but he really hadn’t touched anything! Could either one of the others… Ryou had touched the wall, despite his own warnings. Yuugi wasn’t the kind of person to search for a scapegoat, for someone to blame. He was already glad he had survived the fall, and now he had to find a way out of here! He suddenly was reminded of the handheld transceiver and for the third time in a row, he rummaged through his backpack, only to find the device, broken. “Oh no…” A violent shiver went through him. Ryou and he had never been separated before like this. They had set off traps before, but something like this had never happened. It scared him, and he swallowed.

“Ryou-kun? Malik-kun?” He tried again. “I am here!”

I have been waiting for you.

This time the voice was so close, so intense, that it made Yuugi jump out of his skin. Almost shrieking, he turned around, as if he was actually expecting to find someone standing behind him. His hand trembled so much that it made the flashlight rattle as he shone it in every direction, all around him.

“Who’s there? Show yourself, please!”

No answer. Yuugi spun around so often that it made him dizzy, and he forced himself to stand still. It was definitely the same voice, the one he had heard at the excavation site. “All right, calm down, calm down,” he told himself. This was scary, it was dark, it was cold. He took his time to calm down, trying to get his breathing to even out. “Malik-kun has seen me fall,” he said out loud, finding the sound of his own voice soothing. “He’s going to get help. He’s going to get Jounouchi-kun and Honda-san, and together they will rescue Ryou-kun behind that wall, and then they’ll come to rescue me.”

He repeated that train of thoughts, rational and calm, a couple of times, turning it into a mantra he could cling to. The others would find a way to rescue him. Jounouchi-kun was smart, and he had all that KaibaCorp. equipment he was boasting about. They weren’t going to abandon him, he was going to be rescued no matter what. Ryou always told him to stay put after something had happened, but Yuugi had turned around so often that he had lost all sense of direction. Maybe there was an exit, lurking straight around the next corner… no, he was deluding himself. How deep had he fallen? Yuugi decided to save the batteries of his flashlight for now and use the glow sticks instead. He took one out of his backpack and shook it, as to make the components react to each other. An orange-yellowish light enveloped him. Yuugi stared at the closest wall and his archaeological heart sang as he saw the hieroglyphs and painted scenes, the way the Ancient Egyptians depicted the Afterlife, honoring the dead. Yuugi studied a particular beautiful scene and was mesmerized by the vivid colors. He was going to bet his entire savings that this was the tomb of a noble man, a loved man… such attention to detail was remarkable, even for the high standards of Ancient Egyptian art. This was the tomb of someone very revered, someone of great importance, a Pharaoh even… Ryou’s father was right after all. This had to be the tomb of the nameless Pharaoh! Yuugi took a step closer and heard a crunching noise. He had stepped on something and he held his breath, afraid he had activated another trap. Nothing happened. Carefully, his heart beating wildly, Yuugi looked down. Flowers. Withered, petrified flowers, and lots of them. Rows and rows of flowers, laid down as a last farewell to a truly beloved man. Yuugi couldn’t find a cartouche anywhere on the wall. Why was there no name?

“Tell me who you are,” Yuugi said out loud. No answer. “Please!”

He didn’t know what to do. By all means, he should stay here and wait for help, no matter how long it would take. Yuugi had bottles of water and some food in his backpack, that should be able to last, even for a couple of days. It wasn’t going to take that long to rescue him, was it? On the other hand… that voice was so close. It compelled him to look further, it urged him to move. It went against everything he had learned during his years of working at excavation sites, but… that voice... it wasn’t even pleading, it was commanding. It was stating that ‘he’ had been ‘waiting’, nothing more, nothing less. Yet… Yuugi wanted to find out who the voice belonged to. Ridiculous. A disembodied voice in a tomb. It had to be some kind of prank, or trick… but to hear a voice so clear, so deep under the ground, in a tomb that hadn’t been opened in millennia… Nobody would have ever been able to pull such a trick or prank, it was simply impossible. Yuugi took a deep breath. He would take his chances and find out whom that voice belonged to. For good measure, he called out Ryou’s and Malik’s name again, but no answer came.

He took another deep breath and chose a direction to walk into, following the large mural. It depicted the last journey of the Pharaoh, dressed in ceremonial garb and headgear. His picture was too generic, much to Yuugi’s disappointment. He would’ve loved to see how the Pharaoh had really looked like, but he couldn’t make out specific traits. Yuugi had seen many of these murals before, but none as vibrant and… alive… as this one. It was obvious that much love and care had been poured into these paintings, and it almost moved him to tears. He was the first person to see this in millennia, and it was so beautiful, so touching… as he followed the wall, Yuugi stumbled upon two side chambers, filled with gifts: pottery, gold, furniture, baskets with food and wine… he also found the common shabti figures and personal belongings, like clothes. He didn’t touch anything, he just gawked at it, still impressed by how… personal this felt. Perhaps because he was the first one to see it, he figured. He’d been following Ryou into all kinds of tombs, and now he was the only one here, and all thoughts about being rescued were forgotten. His mind was totally occupied with the mystery that someone so loved was buried without even an inkling to his name. It made him feel sad.

Yuugi continued down the straight-forward corridor until the walls widened. The glow stick ran out and he took another, but the light was too weak to illuminate the entire room. Maybe I should stop here, he thought. He couldn’t tell the dimensions of this chamber, and he had fallen down one trap already. If he’d encounter another one… it was dangerous to explore on his own, he couldn’t recall how often Ryou had told him to never go anywhere on his own in a tomb. Yet Yuugi felt compelled to continue, mysteriously drawn to this strange, complex riddle. There was an unmistakable tug on his heartstrings, something bigger that he couldn’t explain to himself, just that he had to do this.

“Where are you?” He asked. “Please, talk to me again!” Step by step, his feet searching the ground, he moved forward. “Your voice… you’ve been talking to me… I want to help you, but I don’t know where you are!”

Light. Yuugi’s jaw went slack. In the far distance, he could see light: two flames, flickering irregularly, but burning nonetheless. This wasn’t possible. Enthralled, he took another step forward. No, no! He forced himself to stand still. Yuugi and Ryou had lit centuries old oil in tombs and temples, the substances inflammable even after so long. But to have oil burning all this time..? If he hadn’t decided earlier that it was impossible for someone to play tricks on him, he would’ve thought this was all a cruel joke. It was so confusing! A little shaky, Yuugi took another step forward, drawn like the proverbial moth to the flame. He wished he had an oil lamp himself; he was afraid he was going to run out of glow sticks soon, and who knew how long he had to stay here, waiting for his rescuers… and talking about rescue, he should go back… but Yuugi already knew he wasn’t going back. The thought of being rescue slipped his mind again as he held his breath. The mosaic under his feet was starting to show a pattern. It was something he’d never seen before and he knelt down, holding the glow stick close to the colorful, small stones. How he wished he could study it by appropriate light! The dark blue swirl was repeated after a purple wave, interspersed with the familiar Eye of Wdjat in black and white. Yellowish stones filled up the rest of the mosaic, and Yuugi shifted around, trying to read the pattern. His fingers brushed away the sand, revealing red and green colors. What kind of mosaic was this? It was telling him something, but what? What was the big picture, or was he reading too much into it? On his knees, Yuugi shuffled forward, enthralled by the beautiful mosaic. He wanted to use his hand again to remove the sand, but he decided against it. Not that he was afraid to spring another trap - he forgot all about traps, he was so excited - but out of fear he’d damage the fragile colors.

It went against every precaution, but Yuugi simply couldn’t help himself. He retrieved his brush set from his backpack and went to work. Hieroglyphs appeared from under the sand and he read out aloud. “...whoever wishes to hold the power of the mighty Pharaoh…. son of the Gods, ruler in the name of Ra…” Despite the chilly atmosphere, a few drops of sweat rolled over his brow, from the intensity of the moment. “Treasure… be warned… …should you fail… immediate death… game of shadows…” It wasn’t uncommon to find curses or warnings in a Pharaoh’s tomb, but this was different. Instead of cursing the visitor, the text read like an invitation, almost… encouraging the visitor to proceed. A ‘game of shadows’ was promised to anyone who entered this tomb, and to find the treasure, one had to accept the game. Yuugi was baffled. A game. In a Pharaoh’s tomb. What kind of… arrogance was this? Did this Pharaoh really think his tomb couldn’t be desecrated, that he was safe as long as he could challenge his visitor to a game? If by ‘visitor’ he meant ‘thief’, not ‘innocent semi-archaeologist’… Yuugi continued, fascinated. After a while, he sat down, his knees hurting. He took a little break and drank some water. As he looked to the right, it seemed that the flames were closer. They lured him in, shining brightly, and he smiled, as if he could feel their warmth already. Yuugi forced himself to continue. Removing more sand from the mosaic, the hieroglyphs didn’t reveal any information about the name of the Pharaoh, or the actual ‘game of shadows’. Yuugi liked to play games in his free time, but this was a whole different kind of level. As he followed the mosaic, he kept moving on his knees, inch by inch, and that was what saved him.

If he had been walking, he probably wouldn’t have seen the abyss in front of him, due to the weak light from the glow stick. Now that he was on the ground, his hand with the brush moving slowly forward, he noticed the razor sharp edge. Yuugi swallowed. He moved away from it, and kicked a few pebbles down in the process. He couldn’t even hear them fall, it was a huge, gaping abyss of undeterminable depth. He couldn’t see the other side; it was dark, safe for the two flickering flames. He couldn’t make out of there was a bridge or not, but his instinct told him not to try to look over the edge and check it out. His glow stick sputtered and suddenly he was surrounded by complete darkness. Frantic, Yuugi dug in his backpack until he found the third glow stick; now he had only two left. Heaving a sigh of relief when the orange-yellowish light brightened his environment again, Yuugi was at a loss. There was no way he could cross this abyss without falling down and breaking his neck. This was the end of the line. He couldn’t go any further. Frustrated, he shifted his position and he put the glow stick on the ground. Yuugi pulled up his knees. What was he supposed to do? There was nothing he could do… he wanted to grab the glow stick and find his way back after all, when he suddenly noticed indentations in the ground. Intrigued, he leaned forward to take a closer look. They appeared remarkably alike the patterns in the mosaic: the swirl, the wave, the Eye… “Water… Air… the all-seeing Eye…”, he muttered to himself. The green represented Earth perhaps, and the red had to be Fire. But then what? Was this the ‘game of shadows’? Yuugi stared at the indentations. It looked like they could be moved around, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

“It’s a puzzle,” he said. “A puzzle to reach the other side.” Shifting his position once more, he studied the Water, Air, Earth and Fire symbols. “To reach the other side, I would need a bridge. A bridge made out of… stone?” He tapped the Earth symbol. It was a square piece, and it trembled slightly under his touch. Nothing happened. “A bridge made out of air?” The piece with the swirl didn’t budge. Water seemed out of the question, as did Fire. How did you construct a bridge? Yuugi frowned. He had played many games with his grandfather before he went into archaeology and he knew a riddle when he saw one. He had to put these pieces together in the right sequence to bridge the gap, he was sure of it. Yuugi hesitated. The hieroglyphs had spoken of danger and immediate death… but he had come across many of these texts before, the last ditch effort of the ancient Egyptians to protect the tomb from being raided. And hadn’t he ended up here because Ryou had touched something, setting off that trap? A game of shadows… his hand was moving on its own. A bridge could be made of Earth, and Air to support it? He lifted up the Earth symbol to put it in front of the Air symbol. As soon as he picked it up, a chill went down his spine and a gust of wind blew through his hair. Yuugi quickly put the symbol down. What was that? Did he hear something? Shivering, he turned around. He couldn’t see anyone with this weak light, yet he had the feeling that someone was looking at him. Again! A sound..! A ticking sound, like a clock. Since he moved that piece with the symbol of Earth on it… something had started ticking, like a countdown. Yuugi cried out. His left foot had disappeared! A game of shadows… it was consuming him, and if he didn’t solve the riddle in time, his entire body would be gone, trapped forever in this tomb!


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