the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="skyla_doragono"> (Yu-Gi-Oh! Ancient Egypt 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



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



Seto Kaiba was the tallest man Yuugi had ever seen. His height was impressive, and because of the way he towered over everyone, he automatically and naturally assumed the leader’s position. He undoubtedly was the leader and he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Yuugi refrained from staring at him as he had never met Kaiba in the flesh before; so this was the man Ryou answered to. He was very well aware that Ryou hadn’t been able to finance this excavation on his own, but he didn’t know why the CEO of a conglomerate was interested in sponsoring a dig in Egypt. KaibaCorp. was present in all kinds of scientific and technological fields, what did it have to do with ancient artifacts..?

“Sadly, we have a death to deal with,” he said curtly, business-like. “Mahmoud Hassan Hamadi.”

His piercing blue eyes darted over the attendees of this meeting. This wasn’t the usual tent Ryou used as his office and as a gathering place for everyone who wanted to talk to him. To accommodate Kaiba, a very spacious tent, with sturdy furniture (instead of the common, rickety fold-out chairs and tables) and even an air-conditioning unit, had been set up in the center of the excavation site. Ryou had send the workers away after they were done and apart from himself, Kaiba, Yuugi and the two KaibaCorp. employees Jounouchi and Honda, were present. Jounouchi looked slightly disheveled after driving the long distance from Cairo to the excavation site, while Kaiba looked pristine, his white coat not even bearing one smudge or a grain of sand. Malik had returned along with Jounouchi and Kaiba, but as he was ‘just’ a guide and technically not involved with the excavation in itself, the CEO had excluded him from this meeting.

“We don’t know what happened,” Ryou repeated. He had offered his apologies multiple times and there wasn’t much else what he could do. “It’s hard to explain. We don’t think it was a robbery, though.”

“He wasn’t wealthy?”

“Not at all. He earned a little more as he was overseeing the other workers, but not excessively much. He didn’t own anything so valuable that it’d be worth… losing his life over.”

“Arrange for the body to be moved to Cairo,” Kaiba said. “I want an official autopsy to be performed. After that, the body will be returned to his family. A freak accident like this isn’t going to interrupt the excavation.”

“A ‘freak accident’, Kaiba-san?” Ryou asked.

The tall CEO snorted. “This whole project never had one incident of violence before. Concerning the many workers at the site and the risk you run when ancient artifacts are involved, that’s quite a considerable feat.”

“Mahmoud wasn’t a thief, he worked for the Bureau of Antiquities and he came highly recommended! I never had to tell him anything twice, and he was truly committed to the excavation. The last thing I remember… when I spoke to him… he was a bit upset, though. Something about the Pharaoh having no name, and that he was evil.”

“I’m not here to discuss Mahmoud’s past,” Kaiba said. “I don’t know the man, and I don’t care for him. All I see, is a deceased person with an undetermined cause of death. I don’t like undetermined things. I don’t believe in fairytales or ‘the curse of the Pharaoh’.” He took a short break to sip some water. “That doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the situation, of course. Mahmoud’s family will be compensated financially, but that won’t make the grief go away. See to it, Jounouchi.”

“Yeah, sure,” the other answered without using any honorific or respect in his tone of voice. He received a glare in return. Yuugi could see from a mile away that these two weren’t friends, and even their employer-employee relationship seemed to be awkward and angry.

“Tell me about the discovery,” Kaiba demanded. “What have you uncovered so far?”

“I’m not sure whether it’s a palace or a tomb,” Ryou answered. He described the colorful painted pages from the Book of the Dead on the walls. “What really struck me, was the personal nature of the hieroglyphs. Usually, the hieratic texts are very similar and recite the rituals: weighing of the heart, divine judgment of the soul, and so on…but these texts in particular really spoke of awe and adoration, a loving memory of this Pharaoh.”

“Did you find a name?”

“No, everything was crossed out or destroyed. We didn’t even find a depiction of him.”

“Why can’t you be sure of what it is? A tomb or a palace?”

“It has every characteristic of a tomb,” Ryou said. “The paintings of the Book of the Dead. The gifts, the hieroglyphs… yet the size and dimensions of it all, I think we’ve just scratched the surface, excuse the bad pun. There’s so much more to discover…” He continued to describe to Kaiba the details, also mentioning the traps. Yuugi grew a little anxious. His backpack with the heavy golden box and the pieces of the puzzle stood at his feet, and he desperately wanted to work on it. Suddenly, Kaiba addressed him.

“For falling into such a deep pit, you certainly look unscathed.”

“I was black and blue all over,” Yuugi said. “Fatima, our nurse from the base camp, had a very special ointment, a family recipe. It took all the bruises away.” He knew better, of course. His miraculous recovery wasn’t because of the ointment. Let me take your pain. He could still hear that voice, he could still see that face, so similar to his own… but how could he tell Kaiba that a stranger who appeared to him into a dream, took all the pain and the discomfort away?

“Very well.” Kaiba had already dismissed him. “I’ll deal with internal and external communications from now on. I’ll decide how this discovery will be revealed to the world. I don’t have to remind you that you’re legally bound to not divulge any details without my explicit permission.” He tapped on the satellite phone next to him. “I’m going to beef up security radically around here. I’ll hire more workers to unearth the palace or tomb as soon as possible. I want you to work on the identity of the Pharaoh and find a possible explanation for why his name has been removed. I won’t have any of that ‘curse of the Pharaoh’ nonsense.”

“What if someone finds out about Mahmoud?” Honda spoke up. “We’ll be under scrutiny from the international press as soon as you make this discovery known.”

“True. It’s very likely that journalists will poke around,” Kaiba admitted. “I’ll appoint my own head of security, Isono, to take care of security in general. That way, I’ll be sure that it’s airtight around here and not a camel can fart without us knowing it. Concerning Mahmoud, as long as we don’t know the true nature of his demise, we’ll bring it as a tragic accident. There’s nothing more to say about it.”

Everyone mumbled something and shifted around. Kaiba made it clear that he wanted to talk to Ryou alone and Yuugi and the others left the tent. Jounouchi yawned and stretched his arms and legs.

“Man, I don’t know where he gets his energy from. I’m beat!”

“You drove hours through the desert,” Yuugi said, good-naturedly. Jounouchi had parked the large truck on a plateau where it wouldn’t sink into the desert sand due to its heavy weight. “You brought provisions along too, so you worked very hard!”

“Yes, I did,” Jounouchi said and yawned again. “Don’t mind me, but I’m going to lie down for a bit.”

“Sure. I’ll oversee the truck being unloaded,” Honda said and walked over to the workers who already started to distribute the supplies. That left Yuugi to himself, but instead of going to his own tent, he wanted to talk to Malik first. He found the guide sitting next to the truck, basking in the shade. His head leaned against his chest, and he made a miserable impression.

“Malik-kun,” Yuugi said, keeping his voice low as to not startle him.

He looked up. “Yuugi,” he said.

“You look… less than perfect.”

Malik shrugged. “You’re tactful. My sister started to scream.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Yuugi sat down next to him. The shade wouldn’t offer much protection from the upcoming heat, but it would do for now. He put his backpack next to him so he could keep an eye on it. “How did the visit go?”

Malik heaved a sigh. “I told you before that my sister has mentioned that there’s a certain darkness tied to our family, right? Well, when she saw me, she screamed that the darkness had arrived and that it possessed me.” He shivered.

“Malik-kun, that’s awful! I mean… your sister didn’t mean it like that, did she?”

“I don’t know,” he said, downtrodden. “The truth is, I never asked. Since I was young, she’s been warning me for ‘the darkness’, and it scared me. It still scares me. She told me about the history of our family; we’re descendants from a very ancient clan.”

“Tomb Keepers,” Yuugi said. He remembered that conversation with Malik, and now it stood out in his mind, for whatever reason. Tomb Keepers.

“I just don’t dare to ask her,” Malik said. “My sister sometimes has very vivid dreams, visions. I’m afraid of what she’s going to tell me when I ask.” He shifted around a little, and Yuugi could see the bandages on his arms.

“I expected those scratches to be healed by now,” he said. “I’ll get you some of Fatima’s ointment. It’s really good stuff.”

Malik made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “What’s this I hear about Mahmoud? He’s dead?”

Yuugi brought him up to speed while the workers walked past them, carrying the provisions Jounouchi had brought along. Honda had taken it upon himself to distribute the goods for both the excavation site and the base camp. The workers also set up Kaiba’s tent, as he was going to spend a couple of days at the site. Yuugi usually enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the workers, but now he focused on Malik, telling him about the past events.

“I don’t understand it at all,” the guide said. “Why would anyone want to kill him?”

“We don’t know if he was killed,” Yuugi protested, even though all the evidence pointed in that direction. He just couldn’t believe that a murderer freely walked around here.

“You told me you saw his body yourself,” Malik commented. “Don’t tell me you think he died of natural circumstances?”

“No, no,” Yuugi said. He didn’t like to think back to the moment when Mahmoud’s body had been turned over. Those small wounds on the man’s chest, in a circular pattern… it was a haunting image, burned forever into his mind.

“What’s your impression of Kaiba?” he asked.

“All business, of course,” Malik said, not commenting on the sudden change of topic.
“Straightforward, no-nonsense. He’s also very inquisitive and a quick learner. I told him about the tomb and he asked many questions. He made sure to memorize very detail.”

“He asked Ryou-kun to tell him the whole story again.”

“Kaiba’s a man who likes to check his facts.” Malik drew his knees up to his chest. “I didn’t mention anything about the voices, though. I’m sure that someone like him wouldn’t believe it. He’d tell me I had imagined it.”

“You’re right about that.” Yuugi tilted his head slightly. “Have you been hearing… anything as of late?”

Malik shrugged. “Nothing since we were rescued.” Yuugi waited for him to continue. He had the feeling Malik was going to say more. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to share his latest dream with the guide. That… dream had been even stranger than hearing voices.

“You know you can tell me anything, right, Malik-kun?”

“I know.” Malik showed him a smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “How have you been sleeping as of late?”

“Fairly well,” Yuugi said. It wasn’t a lie. Despite his weird dream, he had woken up fully
rested.

“No nightmares?”

“No. You?”

“Eyes,” Malik said. “Strange, pupil-less eyes staring at me, with a hatred that send chills down my spine. I don’t know what I did wrong, or what I have done wrong, but they seem to follow me everywhere. It started after the whole ordeal in the tomb, and come to think of it, I’m wondering if that’s the darkness my sister was talking about. Like I said, she has these very vivid dreams, visions. She’s a kind of seer, you know.”

“Then you should’ve asked her for help, Malik-kun,” Yuugi said. “She might know more about what’s happening… to us.”

“What about Bakura?”

Yuugi was slightly taken aback by Malik calling Ryou by his last name. It sounded a lot more distant, yet Malik had referred to Yuugi with his first name. He decided not to give it too much thought; people were shocked and shaken from the recent events, not too mention Malik experiencing such fear and despair in the dark, cold tomb, separated from his friends.

“I’m not sure, actually. He still acts the same around me, but…”

“But what?” Now he sounded greedy, with a rough edge to his voice that Yuugi hadn’t heard before.

“I… well, he hugged me after I was rescued from the tomb, and when he pressed himself closer to me, I thought I felt something hard.”

Now Malik chuckled. “Was it that exciting?”

“No! Not like that!” Yuugi blushed furiously and he swatted at Malik’s hand. “Something on his chest, something he was wearing. A solid object, a pendant.”

“Bakura doesn’t wear any jewelry, does he?”

“Exactly. It was strange, very strange.”

“You can say that again.” Malik wore his jewelry all the time, the bracers around his upper arms, wrists and neck a veritable goldmine. If anyone was running the risk of getting murdered and robbed, it was Malik, not Mahmoud… but nobody had shown any interest in taking down the guide and rob him blind. Yuugi had accepted Malik immediately, chalking all the gold up to local traditions and culture. Who was he, a native Japanese citizen, to comment on how Egyptian locals chose to dress themselves? He was a guest in their country, not the other way around.

“Hey guys, sorry to break up your little tea-party,” Honda said, grinning. “I’m driving the truck to the base camp. Malik, you’re coming?”

“Yeah, sure.” Malik got up quickly and held out his hand to pull Yuugi up, along with his backpack. “Whoa! Did you put on weight or something?”

“No, sorry, I have my laptop in my bag,” Yuugi said. He was fairly shocked at the lie that just rolled off his tongue, easy like that.

“We’ll be back soon,” Honda said. “We’re going to drop off the rest of the provisions and that’s it. I’m sure Kaiba wants to visit the tomb as soon as possible.”

“Yes, of course.” Yuugi stared into the distance. He could see Fatih and Youssef, standing guard at the entrance, arms crossed in front of their chest, as if nothing had happened. Now that Ryou was occupied with Kaiba, Jounouchi resting and Honda and Malik leaving, Yuugi had time for himself. He said his goodbyes and retreated into the tent he shared with Ryou; he was alone of course, and he quickly zippered his compartment close. His hands trembled as he took the golden box out of his backpack and he had difficulties grasping the pieces. Take it easy, he told himself, but he knew he didn’t have all the time in the world. You must hurry, my light. Time is running out.

“Why do I need to hurry?” he asked out loud. Time is running out… Solve the puzzle. The golden pieces refused to click together. He had to twist them in angles that didn’t make sense at all. Why couldn’t it be as straight-forward as a common jigsaw puzzle? He didn’t realize he was sticking out his tongue in his utmost concentration. It wasn’t as much as the Puzzle he wanted to see solved, he wanted to see him again. That other person, who looked so much like him… another him, another self… “Another me,” Yuugi said out loud. Yes, it was another me. How could someone look like him so much? It had been a dream, not a nightmare… this piece went up, a turn to the left, then a sharp turn to the right… it fit! And why did he appear to him in a dream? This was a larger piece. It wouldn’t fit here, but probably over here…

“You’ve been waiting for me,” his fingers turned the oddly shaped piece upside down and it matched, clicking solidly between two other pieces, “but I’ve been waiting for you too, mou hitori no boku.”



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