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



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


It still took them another five minutes before Yuugi finally took the first step. He immediately turned on his flashlight as soon as he entered the tomb. Keep your breathing under control. He couldn’t help but shiver. From the noises behind him, Malik followed suit, his footsteps a little dragging, as if he really had to force himself to walk. Yuugi stumbled upon the group, only a few meters further down the hallway. Ryou looked relieved to see the both of them; apparently, they had been waiting.

Kaiba, with his arms crossed in front of his chest, shot an impatient look at Yuugi and Malik. Everyone was incompetent and slow in the eyes of the CEO, used to efficient business meetings and mostly, used to being in charge. The thought that he had to follow someone else’s orders for a change, as Ryou had told him repeatedly to stay behind him, annoyed Kaiba more than he’d care to admit. He didn’t like to depend on others, he didn’t like being told what to do, but he wasn’t as naïve as to venture into a tomb that hadn’t been fully explored and mapped yet, not without a guide... and then the traps Ryou had warned him about. He couldn’t afford to get injured; his younger brother Mokuba could run KaibaCorp., but he’d rather not put that heavy responsibility on his shoulders.

“Is everyone finally here? Do we need to hold hands or something?”

Yuugi ignored the harsh tone in the man’s voice and caught Jounouchi rolling his eyes. He was glad to see him; he liked Jounouchi and thought he was pretty resourceful. His friend and colleague Honda stood next to him, carrying a rope and all kinds of tools, as well as a satellite phone. It made Yuugi feel a lot safer. He hoisted up his own backpack, weighing heavier than ever, as he had packed an extra flashlight, a bazillion batteries and glow sticks, along with plenty of bottles of water, on top of the golden puzzle box. Ryou carried a backpack as well, though not as large or heavy as Yuugi’s. Malik wasn’t carrying anything at all. Nobody commented on each other’s outfits.

“Alright, we can go now,” Ryou said, his voice carrying a hint of anxiety. “Kaiba-san, I’m sorry, but I have to ask you…”

“Yes, yes, I won’t touch anything, I won’t stray from the group, I’ll listen to your instructions and I’ll be careful.”

“Thank you for your understanding, Kaiba-san.” Ryou blushed. His grip on his flashlight was so tight that his knuckles turned white. He waited for another minute and Kaiba was about to comment, when Ryou brusquely turned around and walked further down the hallway. Kaiba followed immediately, his stride confident as usual. Jounouchi allowed Yuugi and Malik to go first and brought up the rear, together with Honda. He used a remote to turn on the large construction lights, installed during the previous rescue of Yuugi, Malik and Ryou. Yuugi blinked, his eyes blinded by the influx of the bright light. He didn’t need to look at Malik’s face to know that the guide was frowning in horror; all that artificial light was bad for the mural paintings.

Ryou directed Kaiba’s attention to the artwork and the CEO listened to his explanation. Jounouchi and Honda were extremely bored by all the exposition, but they didn’t touch anything and paid careful attention to where they were walking. Nobody wanted a repetition of what happened before. The group moved on and passed the wall that had separated Ryou from the others at their first visit to the tomb. Jounouchi and Honda had torn the wall down to rescue him, and Ryou shuddered lightly at the sight of the crumbled stone and rock. They also passed the hole in the floor through which Yuugi had fallen. The dark, gaping hole had been marked with fluorescent yellow tape, as to avoid anyone falling into it again. Yuugi ignored the resurfacing memories and scooted a little closer to Jounouchi. Malik looked unhappy, a stoic grimace on his face and he didn’t utter a word. Yuugi wondered how much pain the guide was in, both mentally and physically. He didn’t know what to say, so he remained silent himself.

“Careful,” Ryou’s voice echoed hollowly, “we haven’t explored past this point. We’ll just go a little further down this hallway to show Kaiba-san more of the tomb, and then we’ll head back.”

Yuugi turned on his flashlight again. This was unknown territory, and for a brief moment the excitement of discovering something new, something unexpected, took hold of him again. It died down as quickly as it had come. The flashlight shone upon more mural paintings, that distinctive, beautiful Ancient Egyptian art, not only depicting passages from the Book of the Dead but also personal, almost intimate sceneries of the Pharaoh on his throne, surrounded by his court of priests. Another picture of the Pharaoh, dressed in traditional garb, holding flowers. People of not any particular rank or stature stood around him and offered him gifts.

Yuugi was once more stricken by the attention to detail and how much love and respect spoke from the painting. This Pharaoh had truly been special. He knew it, of course… he had met him only twice, and he thought he was very special from the start. And very beautiful… Yuugi tripped over his shoes and bumped into Malik, who stood still.

“Ow!”

“Watch it,” Jounouchi said, grabbing him at the scruff of his vest.

“I’m alright, I’m sorry,” Yuugi apologized. Ryou beckoned him and he walked towards his friend, curiously. The hallway had widened and gave way to a large room. A very small path had been carved out and where it turned, a huge statue blocked the way. Yuugi recognized the jackal head immediately. “Anubis,” he said.

“He’s guarding what lies on the other side,” Ryou said even though it was impossible to determine the size of the room. It almost felt like a déjà vu to Yuugi. “We have to be very, very careful. You’re good at riddles. Why are there so many statues of Anubis in this room, and why are they blocking the way?”

He frowned. “It’s not traditional for Anubis to have a sword in his hand,” he said after studying the closest statue. Everyone pointed their flashlight to it, so he could see the details in the stone. He wasn’t really sure if these statues represented Anubis at all, despite the obvious jackal head. The way it was positioned, with its left leg forward… that was simply odd. It had to be part of the solution.

“What’s the problem?” Kaiba demanded to know. “We can bypass the statues by simply moving to the other side, like this!” He put his right foot forward, stepping on the path.

“Kaiba, no!” Ryou yelled. In less than a second, the statue lunged forward and the sword cut through the air. Kaiba was only saved thanks to Jounouchi’s quick reaction, pulling the CEO out of the sword’s way.

“What the hell?” Kaiba looked undignified. “What just happened?”

“Thank you for confirming my suspicions, Kaiba-kun,” Yuugi said without sarcasm. “We should use our left foot to tread this path. Remember, this is the house of the Pharaoh. We’re not his guests, we’re intruders. He didn’t invite us, we invaded his dominion. The left side is favored because it’s the side of the heart. For a Pharaoh, the left foot forward signifies power, influence, dominance. We have to show respect and humbleness to him by keeping our left foot forward.”

Kaiba snorted, but he looked at Yuugi a little differently, with the slightest bit of appreciation.

“Perhaps it’s for the better if we go back,” Ryou suggested.

The CEO shook his head. “No. I’ve already come this far, I want to see more.”

“Yuugi, please take the lead,” Ryou said. “Follow his example, people. Don’t mess up.”

Yuugi wasn’t really comfortable being the leader of the group, but he did as he was told. Carefully, he kept his left foot forward and passed each statue without a problem. He focused on his foot and the path, not daring to look at either his right side or his left side, at the deep, dark abyss surrounding the path. From the sound of shuffling feet behind him, he gathered that everyone was meticulously following his example. It took a while, but better safe than sorry - when they finally reached the other side, Ryou let out a huge sigh of relief. He shone his flashlight around.

“The room ends here. It’s not as deep as I thought…. oh, but this is marvelous,” he said. “Look at it… just look at it!”

Two huge stone slabs covered the wall from top to bottom, intricately carved with hieroglyphs and pictures in an interesting, different art style. It had the trademarks of the traditional Ancient Egyptian style, but it deviated on several key points. This wasn’t a scene from the Book of the Dead. This wasn’t a scene heralding the great works or good deeds of the Pharaoh. The hieroglyphs mentioned a battle though, but not in the sense of a war… Yuugi was mesmerized, his mind trying to translate as quickly as he read the texts, trying to find a context.

“I’m not sure, but that guy looks an awfully lot like you, Yuugi,” Jounouchi said, scratching the back of his head. He was gesturing at the stone slab on the right, featuring prominently two people, one of them the Pharaoh. “That’s not possible, is it?”

He interrupted his concentration and slightly irritated, Yuugi shook his head. “That’s not possible, no, Jounouchi-kun. You might as well say that the person opposite of him looks like Kaiba-kun.”

“It’s about a battle,” Ryou murmured, reading just as fast as Yuugi. “But I don’t know what kind of battle they’re referring to. Kaa and baa… it’s the first time I see it mentioned so differently in a text. Something about monsters..?”

Kaiba held his flashlight close to look at the slabs. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but this is what I’m paying for. I’ll have these removed and displayed at the museum. People will pay good money to see these things.”

“Removed? Displayed?” Yuugi repeated, his voice going up significantly. “Kaiba-kun, if you want to make money off of this ancient and traditional culture, you’re into the wrong kind of business!”

Kaiba arched an angry eyebrow and Jounouchi looked like he was about to laugh out loud or cringe violently. Ryou rushed to Yuugi’s side and put his hands on his shoulders.

“Apologies, Kaiba-san,” he said, smiling pleasantly. “Enjoy the splendor of these carvings, while you excuse us for a moment? Yuugi-kun, if you please?”

He all but dragged Yuugi with him as far away from the others as possible and he shook him wildly when they were out of earshot.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Ryou asked, frantic. “Without Kaiba, this never would’ve been possible! He’s the financer of the entire expedition, without his money we wouldn’t even be here!”

“I know, I know!” Yuugi batted irritably at his hands and Ryou let go of him. “You don’t have to explain it to me. I was there when you signed the contract, remember?”

“Then what’s going on?” Ryou’s voice took on a sympathetic tone. “You never talk back to anyone. You never have a big mouth, and now you sass off a billionaire CEO, responsible for your paycheck?”

“I didn’t mean to offend him,” Yuugi said, downtrodden. It wasn’t his first fight with Ryou - though he was reluctant to call it a ‘fight’, he hated any kind of confrontation - they had bickered before, but they had always managed to compromise in the end. “I’ll apologize to him if you want me to.”

“Please do,” Ryou said. “We can’t afford to lose him as our source of income. I rather swallow my pride and my soul before running out of funds, even if it goes against everything I stand for.”

“I’m sorry, Ryou-kun, but it feels wrong,” Yuugi said. “Ever since we entered this tomb, it feels wrong. We started out as enthusiastic amateur archaeologists, for the love of history, for the love of anything Ancient Egypt. We’d never sell our values, our morals, our principals just to please a CEO who has more affinity with technology than any inkling about one of the world’s richest ancient cultures. We’re starting to lose ourselves. Being here is just wrong.”

“I don’t get it.” Ryou was genuinely confused. “You’ve been into dozens of tombs and you’ve seen countless mummies…what’s going on with you? We’ve always had financers Yuugi, because we were never able to afford our equipment, guides and travel ourselves. Is it something personal about Kaiba you dislike?”

“After this dig, it’s over,” Yuugi said. “I’m out of here.”

Ryou gasped and coughed at the same time, completely taken aback. “What? You can’t be serious? What are you going to do?”

“I’m going home,” Yuugi answered stubbornly.

“Home? Do you really want to go back to your shoebox-sized apartment in Domino City where you’ve been so unhappy? This is your home, Yuugi-kun. Egypt is your home. You’ve been so long here…”

“It still feels wrong,” Yuugi repeated. “People change, Ryou-kun. I’m sorry.”

Ryou heaved a sigh. “I don’t blame you for still being upset about what happened lately,” he said. “We all had a pretty big scare in this tomb, being separated from each other in the dark, waiting to be rescued… and then, Mahmoud’s death… maybe this dig is demanding too much out of you. I think you need a break.”

“I don’t need a break,” Yuugi said, voice curt. He loved Ryou as a friend, but sometimes he could be a little petulant, seeing him as someone who needed to be taken care of and protected. Well, he could take care of his own. He had almost finished the Puzzle, a feat that no one else could’ve accomplished!

“We’ll talk about it when we’re on the surface again,” Ryou said. “I’m worried about you.”

“You don’t need to,” Yuugi said, but he had already walked away, back to Malik, Kaiba, Jounouchi and Honda. The CEO just finished a comment about ‘the greatest historical discovery since King Tut’, which as usual, grated Ryou on his nerves; ugh, every time the comparison to King Tut…! Well, he couldn’t deny the importance of that particular discovery of course, but this was so much more beautiful, so much more precious!

“I saw a smaller corridor over there,” Jounouchi said. “You want to take a look, or do you want to return?”

Ryou checked his watch. Nearly two hours, way longer than he had anticipated. He stole a glance at Kaiba, who was looking at him expectantly. “A quick peek then,” he said, as he was actually quite curious himself. It was so hard to stop, with such exciting things around every corner! “Another fifteen minutes, and then we’ll return. Yuugi-kun, are you coming?”

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to study these carvings,” Yuugi said. “I’ll wait for you here.”

“You’ll wait right here,” Ryou repeated.

“I won’t wander off on my own,” Yuugi reassured him. “I know better than anyone else not to go exploring on my own. I’ll stay right here.”

Ryou trusted him. “Let’s go.”

Yuugi waited until the group disappeared around the corner. He had plenty of light to study the stone tablets, and he quickly read over the hieroglyphs again, in search of that little, but oh so important piece of information… he clacked his tongue in annoyance when he saw that the Pharaoh’s name had also been removed from the slabs. Damnit! He stared at the picture of the Pharaoh. Nobody had reacted to Jounouchi’s earlier comment about how he looked like Yuugi. He was glad that everybody had let it slide; Yuugi had obviously seen the similarities, not only in the paintings, but also in his two dreams, in which the Pharaoh had appeared to him.

Slowly, Yuugi sat down on the cold, hard floor and pulled his backpack onto his lap. He took out the Puzzle. Just a few more pieces. It was fitting somehow, to finish the Puzzle in front of this stone tablet.

“What are you trying to tell me?” Yuugi mumbled as he continued with the pieces. “You and your Priest are playing some kind of game..? Is this what you mean with ‘battle’? This is very different than usual. If those three pictures represent the Gods, then it’s radically different than what we know from Ancient Egypt art. You mention Ra and Osiris, but I’ve never heard of a God called Obelisk… were you that revolutionary? Were you the new Akhenaten? Did you deviate from traditional art and religion? I want to know you, mou hitori no boku…” He gasped. The Puzzle… it was almost complete! The large centerpiece was the only piece left… and it was in his hand! Holding his breath, Yuugi clicked the centerpiece into place and immediately, a bright light washed all over him. He couldn’t help but smile as the light was so warm and kind, and he allowed it to envelop him, basking in it.

“Aibou,” a rich, deep voice called out to him and Yuugi’s smile grew wider.

“There you are! Oh! You look wonderful!” It was out of his mouth before he realized it. The Pharaoh stood in front of him, a solid apparition, with every detail of his face and clothes visible. Yuugi’s blush deepened into a vibrant tomato red color when the Pharaoh reached for him and took him by the hands.

“I knew you could do it, my light,” he said. “You solved the Puzzle!”

“Yes, but I still don’t know your name,” Yuugi answered. “We’re here, inside your tomb, searching all over, intruding…”

“I know, and I do not mind,” the Pharaoh said. “This is not my real tomb, aibou. Unfortunately, there is no time to explain it all, not now. The others… have they awoken too?”

“What others are you talking about?” Yuugi pursed his lips. This was such a beautiful moment, and they were holding hands; he didn’t want this to be interrupted by talking about ‘others’.

“The tomb robber and the Tomb Keeper,” he said. “If they have not awoken yet, then fortune and gods are on our side… you have to be strong, aibou.”

“Tell me what is going on,” Yuugi said. “Tell me your name!”

“It’s Yuugi,” the Pharaoh answered, but his lips didn’t move.

My name is Yuugi,” Yuugi said. “What’s yours?”

“Yuugi,” he said again, fading out of sight. Panicked, Yuugi tried to hold on as his hands slipped away from him, but to no avail.

“What’s going on?” Another voice, rumbling, impatient. Kaiba?

“Yuugi-kun,” a lighter voice, soft and concerned. “Yuugi-kun, what happened? We saw a bright light and hurried back. You were on the floor, in front of the stone tablets. Do you remember anything?”

“My name is Yuugi,” he said.

Ryou supported his head with his lumpy backpack. “Yes, your name’s Yuugi, you said that a couple of times.” He looked over his shoulder at the rest of the group. “I think Yuugi-kun’s a little overwhelmed and disorientated,” he said. “It’s best for all of us to go back to the surface. We’ve been underground for almost three hours. Kaiba-san, you’re more than welcome to accompany us another time, but for now we go back to the excavation camp.”

The CEO agreed without any objection. Malik didn’t say a word, but his expression was confused and angry. Jounouchi extended a hand to Ryou and Yuugi.

“Do you need help?”

“Oh, I can get him up myself Jounouchi-san, thank you.” Ryou put his arms under Yuugi’s and hoisted him up. Yuugi blinked a couple of times, feeling tired and worn-out. Ryou leaned into him as he supported him.

“It’s a good thing I arrived first,” he said, his voice taking on a darker tone, his eyes narrowing slightly. “Otherwise your Puzzle was all out in the open and it would’ve been taken away from you, Your Majesty.”

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




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