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



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


Malik shared a tent with some of the workers; illiterate, poor people from a nearby tribe who made modest money from working at the excavation site. They were a little intimidated by the guide, who could not only read and write Ancient Egyptian, but also modern Arabic. Malik hadn’t gone to school for classic education as he had grown up in a tribe as well, far away from cities like Cairo or Alexandria. As a young child, he had accepted living underground and following strict traditions, cultivated by countless generations of Ishtars, until it was time for the initiation rite: the carving of mythical text and pictures on his back. His father had executed this rite of passage, without any anesthetics, without any care for the well-being or comfort of his son - he had simply used a hot knife, and silenced Malik’s screams by gagging him. It had been the most painful moment in his life, both physical and mental. That was the moment when the darkness within him had started, as his sister had told him. Darkness, added to the already existing darkness in the entire Ishtar family… and that was more than she’d care to admit. She had refused to tell him, despite him pushing for answers.

He brusquely shoved the tent flap away. No one was inside and he went over to his bed; a simple fold-out cot with a metal frame. He dropped his bag onto the bed and opened it, rummaging through its contents. He always traveled light, even if he took on longer jobs like this one, navigating and guiding from the base camp to the excavation through the treacherous desert. Malik pulled out the golden object stashed on the bottom of his bag. A long, smooth rod with a sphere attached on the top, a sharp wing on each side. The weight was considerable; it was made of pure gold. It had to be worth a fortune and if he sold it, he could live the rest of his life comfortably, in an apartment in Cairo, with all the luxury he wanted. But the thought of selling it never crossed his mind. This… rod was his, he had suffered greatly to obtain it. He was still suffering; the deep cuts and scrapes on his arms hadn’t healed yet and were a painful reminder of the horrible moments in the dark, in the tomb, when he was separated from his friends and clawing his way outside.

The surge of hatred and anger that had washed over him as he held the object for the first time, hadn’t occurred again. Strange… just like this entire object… no, artifact, was strange. Malik wished he could study it, but there was little to no privacy at the excavation site and people would ask questions if they saw him with the artifact. Questions he didn’t have an answer to, except for “I found it in the tomb.”. He wasn’t the rightful owner, they would force him to give it up… and his grip on the rod became painfully tight again. It was his! Determined, he stuck the rod between the loops of his belt, on his back. He pulled out a sleeveless vest and put it on; it covered up the artifact nicely. Malik leaned a little forward to close his bag and put it under the bed, when a sudden movement behind him, startled him. The tent flap was roughly pulled aside and Ryou Bakura entered, showing him a bright smile. Malik straightened himself.

“Ryou,” he said, casually referring to him by his first name.

“Malik.” He ventured further into the tent, closing the distance between them. Malik arched an eyebrow. Ryou always used the -‘kun’ honorific when addressing him, true to Japanese customs, his native country.

“Is there something I can do for you?” Malik asked, apprehensively.

“Kaiba wants to visit the tomb as soon as possible.” Ryou stared at Malik so intensely, that the guide averted his eyes. “But not after he has arranged for extra security, after Mahmoud’s unfortunate and untimely death.”

“You…” Malik was shocked. It wasn’t like Ryou to talk like this, his speech pattern so crude and coarse. “You sound amused.”

“Do I?” Ryou shrugged.

“What about Kaiba?” Malik asked. “He can visit the tomb anytime he wants.”

“I don’t want him to,” Ryou growled and he grabbed Malik at the upper arm. The guide yelped. The last thing he expected from polite, kind Ryou Bakura was a forceful, bone-breaking grip. “And you shouldn’t, either.”

“Let go of me!” Malik hammered with his fist on Ryou’s arm. “What’s the matter with you?”

“Come on, don’t play stupid,” Ryou said and shook him. Malik started to laugh. This situation was so bizarre, he didn’t know how to react to it. His laughter increased in volume until he threw his head back and laughed out loud, the sound cruel and menacing. With a mowing movement of his arm, he broke Ryou’s grip and curled his fingers as if he wanted to claw at him.

“It’s been a while, thief,” he said, his voice lower than usual.

“We can skip formalities and pleasantries right away,” the other said.

“What name do you use?”

“Just call me Bakura.”

“Bakura it is.” Malik stared at his hand as if he saw it for the first time, then slowly dropped both his arms to slowly rest along his sides. “It feels weird.”

“You’ll get used to it.” Bakura looked at him. “Where do you keep it?”

“Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

Bakura held his hands in front of his chest and a golden ring appeared, the five dangling prongs chiming ominously.

“Neat trick,” Malik mumbled. He reached for the rod, pulled it out of its confinement and showed it to Bakura.

“Magnificent.” Bakura admired the object. “I could detect it from miles away.”

Malik pulled a sour face, then he tucked the artifact away again. “What about the puzzle?”

“It either hasn’t been found or assembled yet. I can’t find it, so far.” Bakura tapped on his Ring, almost absent-mindedly. “I figure it’s in the hands of that Yuugi kid, but I haven’t been able to confirm it yet. My current… Host has quite the busy job.”

“And you’ve been quite busy as well.” Malik showed a bloodthirsty, hungry grin.

“Mahmoud.” Bakura made a dismissive gesture. “All that babble about evil and dark things… too bad, I could’ve used his expertise. It was just too soon.”

Malik sat down on the cot, looking relaxed. If Bakura was impressed or affected by the continuous glowing eye on his forehead, he didn’t let it show. He remained standing, a disdainful sneer tugging at his lips.

“I can ask cute lil’ Yuugi,” Malik said, flicking out his tongue. “About the puzzle.”

“Please don’t, I know your ways of ‘asking’ someone something.” Bakura snorted. “I’d be lucky if I were to find his limbs somewhere in the desert. No. He has to serve his purpose.”

“When our friend the Pharaoh awakens, you’ll sing to a different tune,” Malik said. “Don’t boss me around.”

“Don’t fuck it up,” Bakura gave immediately back, his voice low and dark. “You have duties to fulfill, Tomb Keeper.”

“Don’t count on a flawless execution, thief. I had to wait for so long, and this one has so much delicious hatred and anger in him. I never imagined that even after all this time, the tribe would still continue the initiation rite. With nothing but a sharp knife, no less.” He shivered, but not in horror. “All that wonderful pain, running so deep, like a river of hatred bound into his core, bound into his bones. Such sweet, sweet anger and hurt… I want to revel in it for as long as possible.”

Bakura grimaced. He never understood the other’s penchant for pain, and his utter joy and delight to inflict it upon himself and others. “I want you to stay focused,” he said, even though he knew it was too much to ask. Malik was fickle, and forgetful. “We already have the High Priest on the field.”

“Kaiba.” Malik barked a short laugh. “Does he know anything about his past?”

A shrug. “I doubt it. But if my guess is correct, and the Ceremonial Tablets are still somewhere in the tomb, he’ll be in for a surprise.” Bakura tilted his head. “What did your sister say?”

“Blah blah blah, darkness tearing our family apart, blah blah, future is clouded, blah blah.”

“I commend you on your observational skills.”

Malik choose not to comment. Instead, he rose from the cot again and blankly stared at Bakura.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” he asked.

“Me? You’re the one who…” Bakura heaved a dramatic sigh. “Idiot.”

“Excuse me?”

“What?”

“Did you just call me an idiot?”

Ryou blinked. “I did? Really?” He looked around him. “Why am I here? I was just talking to Kaiba-san. He wants to visit the tomb as soon as possible.”

“You already told me that,” Malik said impatiently. “Is everything all right? You look stressed, and paler than usual.”

“I… I don’t know.” Ryou put his hand on his chest, as if he was looking for something. “I really don’t know.”

“I think you should lie down for a moment,” Malik suggested. “Everyone wants something from you, and now that Kaiba’s here, it’s really going to be a madhouse.”

“Perhaps you’re right. It’s just that… it happened to me before, that I was in the middle of something and… the next second I was somewhere else. Really weird.”

“Did you drink enough water today? You might have a heatstroke.”

“No, no… it’s not a heatstroke. It’s more like a blackout.”

“A blackout?”

“Yeah, that you don’t remember what happened… like amnesia? Short-term memory loss? A gap in your mind?”

“You should really lie down, Ryou.”

After a moment of silence, Ryou nodded. “Yes, I will. But just for a moment.” He hurried out of the tent, leaving a baffling Malik behind. He was glad that Ryou had left, so he couldn’t see him shaking. He couldn’t tell him that he had experienced the same, just moments ago. A gap in your mind. Only the oddly comforting weight of the rod resting against his lower back calmed him down.


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



“Has the satellite been installed yet?” Kaiba Seto didn’t like to waste time or opportunity. He had a lot of work to do and any delay irked him. “Is that moron of a Honda back yet, or that doofus of a Jounouchi awake already?”

“Do you want me to wake sahib Jounouchi?” the worker asked, his eyes wide in permanent fear of the tall, brusque CEO. Kaiba hesitated. It was very tempting, but even he didn’t want to exhaust his employees, even if it was Jounouchi. A rested employee was far more efficient than a grumpy one.

“No, leave him be for now.” Kaiba shooed the worker out of his tent. “As soon as you see Honda, tell him to report to me!”

“Yes, sahib Kaiba,” the man said and ran off. Kaiba grunted. He could install the satellite himself of course, but his phone wouldn’t stop ringing; he simply didn’t have the time. Maybe he should’ve brought his younger brother Mokuba along after all; he only needed half a word to do what needed to be done. Kaiba had decided against it, believing that the harsh, hot environment wouldn’t be suitable for Mokuba… and after he had heard about that supervisor’s death, he had been strengthened in his resolve. This was no place for kids.

Kaiba sat down behind his desk. No fold-out furniture for him; he was used to a certain standard of living, and not even the desert was going to keep Kaiba Seto from what he wanted or what he needed. He reclined back and laced his fingers together. What did he want from the Egyptian desert? When Bakura Ryou had written to him two years ago, he never would’ve thought he’d be at the brink of a marvelous discovery. The intact tomb or palace of a Pharaoh, a nameless one, not yet identified… the archeological world was going to salivate at this discovery, bigger than Tutankhamun. And what was the CEO of a technology-driven conglomerate doing here, exactly? So many people wrote him, begged him for money; for their inventions, for their plans and ideas, one more extravagant than the other, but almost always unviable. Some ideas were interesting, and he had given funds to scientists, technicians and medical professionals before, curious to see where their research and financial support would take them.

Why had Bakura Ryou’s proposition appealed so much to him? It boiled down to the same old song: he wanted money to finance his excavation. Ancient Egypt. Strangely enough, Mokuba had been very enthusiastic about the idea.

“It gives KaibaCorp. a more human face, nii-sama,” he had said. No one except for Mokuba knew that Kaiba donated generous amounts of money to several charities: orphanages, educational and cultural programs for underprivileged children… he was well aware of how his image was conceived in the outside world: that of an aloof, cold, distant and tough-as-nails CEO, firing people on the spot, on a whim, even though it was commonly known that KaibaCorp. offered the best employee benefits all around. Kaiba had never cared for his image, but if there was one person he listened to, it was his own younger brother. But still, an excavation in Egypt was a far cry from virtual reality or hologram technology which Kaiba had been focusing on as of late. He didn’t believe in fate or destiny, but here he was, in a tent in this smothering heat…

“Kaiba?”

He was startled out of his thoughts and snapped his head into the direction of the voice.
“Honda,” he snarled. “Can’t you knock?”

“I called out your name three times already,” Honda said. “You didn’t answer. Is the heat getting to you?”

“This tent has air conditioning.” Kaiba isn’t offended by Honda’s lack of respect, by addressing him with such familiarity and not using an honorific. Both Honda and Jounouchi used to be street rats; thugs without a future, and ideal to do the dirty work. Loyal, yet not intelligent enough to see the big picture, but the most important part is, they don’t ask any questions. They just do their work and carry out their assignments, exactly the way Kaiba likes it. He’s not amused though, that he apparently has lost himself in thoughts.

“You asked for me?”

“Yes. Install the satellite so that I can connect to the Internet.”

“I’ll get right to it.” Honda leaves the tent again. He’s just as technical as Jounouchi, Kaiba should have his connection in no-time. He had promised Mokuba to Skype him and he always keeps his promises to his brother. To other people, well, that depended on what was at stake. Bakura Ryou… he had promised him the honor of the discovery and the fool had accepted it, almost gleefully so. Talking about his father, and how he wanted to follow into his footsteps… Kaiba frowned. He didn’t have the best memories of his own father and he never wanted to think about the man again. Would he be proud of him? Who cared? This was his life, his career and his decision. He was going to visit that tomb tomorrow. He wanted to see with his own eyes what was so special, so miraculous about it. Then, he would decide his next step, and no nameless Pharaoh was going to hold him back.

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




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