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



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


The beautiful sun kissed his skin. The warmth surrounding him was comfortable and pleasant. The sand beneath his feet wasn’t hot to the touch - but since when was he barefoot? Yuugi stared at his feet. He was dressed funnily; a wrap around skirt, belted at his waist, barely reaching his knee. A hot, red flush spread across the cheeks when he realized he wasn’t only barefoot, but also barechested. He’d never felt so naked in his life before and he quickly took a look around, if he could find any clothes.

Yuugi didn’t know what was happening to him. Was he in a dream? It certainly was a very vivid dream, as he could feel the heat of the sun, the grains of sand between his toes, the embarrassment of being half-naked. He didn’t need to wonder where he was; huge pillars rose up around him, with the familiar hieroglyphs and artwork commonly attributed to the fascinating art and cultural traditions from Ancient Egypt. Karnak, or Dendera perhaps? Certain elements from both temple complexes were easily recognizable, but others were too hard to identify. Curiously, Yuugi walked over to a pillar in an attempt to study it and place it in the known timeline of the ancient Pharaohs. He couldn’t make out the details. It was like watching TV with blurred vision.

He desperately wanted to remember everything and engrave it into his mind, so he could do his research when he was awake again… the pillars disappeared and in front of him, a large avenue was visible. It was guarded by majestic, magnificent sphinxes; Yuugi gaped at the intricate statues, but to his dismay he couldn’t make out the facial features of the mythical creatures. A strange kind of fog was obscuring his vision, prohibiting him from viewing the details. Intrigued yet annoyed, Yuugi walked down the avenue, feeling a soft breeze caressing his hair.

He reached the end of the avenue and the landscape changed again, this time into an inviting oasis. A small lake, surrounded by a myriad of trees offering shadow, and someone was standing in the water, just at the edge, his feet obscured by the water. Yuugi’s heart skipped a beat. He increased his pace, to close the distance between them. As soon as he stepped into the water, the other turned around, his broad golden collar catching the sunlight and flickering, almost blinding Yuugi. It didn’t diminish his joy to see him again…

“Mou hitori no boku,” he said and without further thought, he reached for him. His heart skipped another beat when he felt solid to the touch! “You’re real!”

He turned around to put his hand on top of Yuugi’s, a warm smile tugging at his lips. “I am much stronger now. You are nearly finished, my light. The Puzzle is nearly completed.”

“Puzzle? That’s how you call it? But of course, you said it before… solve the puzzle… I’ve been working on it non-stop.”

“Good.” He turned towards Yuugi, his striking red eyes framed by long, dark lashes gazing upon his face, then moving lower. “You look absolutely wonderful.”

It didn’t stop the ferocious blushing. Yuugi turned the position of his hand a little, so he could take the other’s hand into his.

“Please tell me your name,” he said. As he didn’t receive an answer, he mustered his courage to look up. “Your name..?”

“I do not know it,” the other whispered. “I have not known it for a while now.”

“You forgot it?” Yuugi asked, disbelief audible in his voice. “How did that happen?”

“A lot has happened. I will tell you more, when I am stronger. It takes a tremendous amount of power to be here and meet up with you.”

“Sorry, I’m so sorry,” Yuugi hurried to say. “I didn’t mean to criticize you!” He felt guilty. How could anyone not know his name? It was like… then it dawned to him. “You’re the nameless Pharaoh,” he blurted out. “How stupid of me not to realize sooner! You’re a Pharaoh!”

“Yes, I am,” he confirmed. “I wish I could tell you more. My memories are… jumbled.”

“Let me help you,” Yuugi offered. “I’ll solve the Puzzle as soon as possible, and then I’ll search for your name. I have to call you something, though… a suitable name…”

“You said something earlier, the first thing you said just before you touched me. What was it? I could not understand.”

“Mou hitori no boku,” Yuugi repeated. “It’s Japanese, my native language, and it means ‘other me’… because we look so much alike, see?”

The Pharaoh chuckled. “Yes, so I have noticed.”

Yuugi wished he was a smooth talker, he felt hopelessly outclassed by the Pharaoh. Still, it pleased him tremendously that they were still holding hands. A firm touch, and the Pharaoh made no movement to withdraw or to break up the gesture.

“You probably have never heard of my country,” Yuugi continued. “There’s so much I want to tell you… I want to get to know you better!”

“You are so different,” the Pharaoh said, his voice carrying a tone of melancholy. “You do not even wonder how this is all possible. You do not ask how I can communicate with you. You do not question whether this is real or not…”

“This is real to me,” Yuugi immediately answered. To demonstrate, he squeezed the Pharaoh’s hand lightly. “This feels real. What else could it be?”

“I wish we had more time.” The Pharaoh tilted his head a little. “Forgive me for being so abrupt. As you have the Puzzle, you have entered my tomb. You have removed the golden box from its pedestal. Did someone accompany you? Were you alone?”

“No… eh… yes… I mean, I was alone when I took the golden box, but I wasn’t alone in the tomb. Two of my friends were with me.”

“Two? Did they take anything with them?”

“I doubt it,” Yuugi said. “I didn’t have any right to take the golden box either. By all means, it belongs to…”

“Have you told anyone about the Puzzle?”

“No.” This strange sensation of possessiveness came over him when it concerned the Puzzle. He hadn’t even entertained the thought of sharing his discovery with Ryou or Malik, or anyone else for that matter.

“Good. Do not allow any of your friends to see or touch the Puzzle, aibou.”

“Hey! Since when do you speak Japanese?” Yuugi’s eyes went even wider, as the Pharaoh started to disappear. “No! No, wait!”

“I am not strong enough,” he said, his voice reduced to a mere whisper. “Soon, when you finish the Puzzle.”

“Wait! Please wait!” Yuugi cried out but the darkness rushed in and he found himself awake and upright in his tent, blinking. After the warm light and the coziness of being together with the Pharaoh while standing in the calm lake, the abrupt silence and the coldness of the barely moonlit night hit him like a ton of bricks. He gasped, his breathing difficult as he needed to adjust, physically and mentally, to the change in environment. It had to be the middle of the night; when his eyes were adjusted to the dark, he could only make out the basic lights, set at the perimeter of the camp, dimly shining through the fabric of his tent. Yuugi couldn’t remember how long he’d been here and his body protested when he shifted his position. His legs were totally cramped and he tried to get up, groaning as it took tremendous effort to perform the task. Pain shot through him as his back also protested and his knees wobbled. Yuugi zipped open his compartment and stumbled through the tent to go outside. He stretched his legs and moved his arms up and down. The chilly night refreshed his senses and the next second, his stomach let out a disturbing growl.

“We missed you at dinner.”

“Sheesh! Ryou-kun, you scare the crap out of me!”

“I’m sorry,” Ryou apologized. “But you could wake up the dead with that kind of noise.”

Yuugi apologized as well. “I haven’t eaten. I completely lost track of time.”

“I would’ve send for you,” Ryou said, “but I figured you needed a moment. You were pretty shaken by Mahmoud’s death.”

“It’s all right,” Yuugi said. He could always find a piece of aish, the typical Egyptian pocket bread, somewhere in the camp. It wasn’t like they disposed over a cafeteria; if you missed the communal meal, you were out of luck. Most of the workers liked Yuugi and they wouldn’t mind sharing their bread, and he could always pay for it, even though they were too polite to take his money. “Any news?”

Ryou shook his head. “Kaiba-san has ordered for the body to be transported to Cairo, and to have an autopsy performed.”

Yuugi shivered. Aside from his grandfather’s passing, he had never had to deal with deceased people, and the image of Mahmoud, lying dead in the sand, was hard to shake off. He wrapped his arms around himself, wondering why he so foolishly left his tent without a vest or a jacket. His body could still feel the warmth he experienced only moments ago, but the reality was cold, icily cold and he was freezing. “What are you doing outside, Ryou-kun?”

“I couldn’t sleep. Kaiba-san wants to visit the tomb first thing tomorrow, and… I have a bad feeling about it.”

“It’s too soon,” Yuugi said. “We don’t know what other traps there might be.”

“I won’t take him very far into the tomb,” Ryou said. “Just far enough to see some of the mural paintings. We haven’t even discovered the burial chamber yet.”

“We also don’t know his name.”

“What?”

“The Pharaoh’s name. From what I saw, it was removed… destroyed.”

“My father never wrote in his journal about which dynasty he placed the nameless Pharaoh in,” Ryou said, and smiled. “But that’s why I brought you, Yuugi-kun. You’re exceptional at research.”

“I’ll be sure to find his name,” Yuugi said. “I’ll always keep my promises.”

Ryou looked at him quizzically. “You certainly do. How long have we’ve been working together for now?”

“Ten years..? Ten, eleven years.”

“Ten years,” Ryou repeated. “We’ve been through a lot together, and this… this tomb of the Nameless Pharaoh, is just… the pinnacle of our adventures.”

“How come you sound so nostalgic?” Yuugi was a bit apprehensive. Was Ryou trying to tell him something?

“Oh, nothing, nothing.. whenever I can’t sleep, my mind wanders off in all kinds of strange directions.”

“We should go back to bed though,” Yuugi said. “We have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”

“You’re right. Good evening, Yuugi-kun.”

“Good evening.” Yuugi watched Ryou disappear into the tent. He wondered if he had missed something. It wasn’t like his friend to talk like this, let alone be this… nostalgic, with a hint of…sadness. What had happened to the enthusiastic, passionate, driven archeologist? Had Ryou difficulties adjusting now that he had reached his goal? He had fulfilled his father’s wish: finding the Nameless Pharaoh’s tomb. He had stepped into his father’s footsteps and made him proud; what more could he achieve? No, it wasn’t like that. Yuugi refused to believe that Ryou would become complacent or lazy. He would find himself a new challenge; the Valley of the Kings was so vast, so many more tombs were to be discovered… but Yuugi found himself not caring. All that mattered was the Pharaoh and the Puzzle. His Other Self, waiting for him to return with his name. It was getting close to an obsession, he was aware of it, but he pushed that train of thoughts out of his mind. He could handle this. He just didn’t want to admit to himself how much more he longed for that touch, that warm touch that caressed his skin and blessed his soul.


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



“Good morning, Jounouchi-kun,” Yuugi greeted the Kaiba Corp. employee, standing next to the table where breakfast was served.

“Good morning, Yuugi.” Jounouchi looked well-rested and had piled up the food on his plate; his appetite had almost reached a legendary status among the workers. “Did you catch any sleep? Even the bags under your eyes have bags.”

“I had a restless night indeed,” Yuugi said and smiled apologetically. He hadn’t been able to get the Pharaoh out of his mind, and his message was haunting him. Do not allow any of your friends to see or touch the Puzzle. He didn’t like keeping secrets. He didn’t like to hide things from his friends. Yet… the artifact exerted such an influence on him, it pulled and tugged at him, and he couldn’t let it go. He didn’t want to share it, he didn’t want anyone else to touch it… and now that he was so close to completion, he was eager to finish it, instead of trotting along the visit to the tomb. In fact, he wished no one would visit the tomb ever again. It just didn’t feel right. All these thoughts were wasted on Jounouchi, munching on the traditional ful medames, a staple in the Egyptian cuisine.

“Have some, before Honda eats everything,” Jounouchi quipped. Yuugi wasn’t so sure if he was able to keep any food down, but it’d be weird if he didn’t eat anything at all, so he grabbed himself dutifully a plate and served himself a modest amount of the hot dish. Ryou and Malik joined him, also looking like they hadn’t had much sleep.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that you three sneak off at night to have a wild party somewhere,” Jounouchi muttered. “You all look like zombies!”

“Malik-kun,” Yuugi was shocked, “your bandages..! What happened? Your scratches should be healed by now!”

Malik looked at his right arm and the blood-soaked bandages wrapped around it. “Oh,” he said, looking a bit embarrassed, “I think I subconsciously tear at it when I’m asleep. It doesn’t hurt, it looks worse than it is.”

“You should ask Fatima for her healing ointment,” Ryou said. “She used it on Yuugi, and all of his bruises were gone the next day!”

Now Yuugi looked embarrassed. It hadn’t been the ointment… he shoveled some of the food inside his mouth so he didn’t need to comment, and fortunately Ryou changed topics.

“Where’s Kaiba-san? Doesn’t he need to have breakfast?”

“Don’t worry about him,” Jounouchi said, slightly disdainfully. “His Kaiba-ness is being served in his tent.”

Yuugi was just about to ask why Jounouchi was actually working for Kaiba, when said CEO stalked into their direction, his incredible height as always impressive and intimidating.

“If and whenever you reach some kind of importance, Jounouchi,” he sneered, “you can have people serve you as well. Until then, you’ll just continue to be a lapdog, working for me.”

Jounouchi muttered something under his breath that probably shouldn’t be repeated. Kaiba stared at the group, and Ryou quickly put his half-finished plate away.

“You’re ready to visit the tomb, Kaiba-san?”

“Yes. I don’t need to take any special precautions, do I?”

“You could take a vest with you,” Ryou said. “It’s pretty cold underground.” He beckoned one of the workers closer. “Could you please get a vest for Kaiba-san?”

“Yes, sahib Bakura!” The worker left and returned immediately with a warm garment, which the CEO grudgingly accepted. Jounouchi, Honda, Yuugi, Ryou and Kaiba were ready to go and walked over to the entrance of the tomb, still guarded by Fatih and Youssef. The brothers had never been really talkative, but they hadn’t spoken a word since Mahmoud’s death.

“I expect to hear from Isono anytime soon,” Kaiba said to no one in particular. His head of security would beef up and tighten the amount of guards at the excavation site, as soon the news of the discovery would go global and all kinds of people would show interest in the Nameless Pharaoh’s last resting place. It felt wrong, Yuugi couldn’t help his thoughts going in circles. Now that he knew the Pharaoh - even though it had only been two brief meetings - it felt so wrong to tread into the tomb again. If it were up to him, he’d never go back; but Yuugi couldn’t leave it all to Ryou, he was involved in all of this and there was no turning back.

“…Yuugi?”

“Yes, huh, what?” Yuugi stammered.

“Are you sure you want to take that backpack with you?” It was Jounouchi who asked. “You don’t need all that heavy weight, do you?”

“I… I just like to keep it close,” Yuugi said. “After what happened last time…”

“Let’s go,” Kaiba said, not wasting any moment. He stepped past Youssef and Fatih and disappeared into the tomb.

“Kaiba-san, not so fast!” Ryou hurried after him, followed by Honda and Jounouchi. Yuugi was the last one to enter when he suddenly noticed that someone was behind him. He turned around.

“Malik-kun? Are you coming along with us?”

“I don’t know,” the guide said, obviously hesitating. “I’m not sure. I mean, after what happened…”

“It’s just a short visit, just to show Kaiba-kun his investment’s worth.”

“Yeah, you’re right about that.” Malik stared into the gaping opening, his eyes darting back and forth. “They’ve turned on the lights, haven’t they?”

“I guess so,” Yuugi said. Honda and Jounouchi had installed large, bright construction lights when they rescued Yuugi and the others.

“Good, good. Light is good.”

“Malik-kun, is everything all right? Did you go see Fatima?” It didn’t look like his bandages had been changed. Yuugi frowned.

“We should go.” The Egyptian nodded towards the entrance. Yuugi didn’t comment. He was wondering why they were both trying so hard to convince themselves. Something had changed indeed, and it wasn’t for the better.


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




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