It was a quiet night with a slight breeze that softly rustled the leaves of trees. The sky was dark with only tiny pinpricks of light to break up the black canvas. It was a new moon so the silvery light was missing, leaving the street lights as the only light source. The darkness carried with it a hint of a dark feeling; the kind that sends chills down your spine and makes you look over your shoulder for something behind you.
Inside the Millennium Puzzle the spirit of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh shivered. He reached out with his mind to contact the boy whose body he shared.
\\Yugi? Yugi, are you awake?\\
\I wish I wasn't,\ came the reply. \Is something wrong?\
\\There's a sinister feeling in the air. Just be on guard.\\
Yugi sighed. \Can't get a break, can we…um…what do you want me to call you for this? Atem? Atemu? Pharaoh? Yami? Mou hitori no boku?\
The spirit blinked and left his soul room to stand in the corridor that separated his soul from Yugi's. After several seconds the shorter boy left his own soul room to join the spirit in the corridor.
"Where are we in the timeline?" the spirit asked, raising an eyebrow.
Yugi scratched his head. "Um…before the Waking the Dragons arc?"
"So…how do you know the name Atem or Atemu?"
Yugi stared blankly at him and shrugged. "The other names work, yeah?"
"I don't mind 'Pharaoh' even though it's a title and not a name," the ancient ruler said.
"What about 'Yami'? It seems to be your most popular name Yami Yugi."
The spirit tapped his chin thoughtfully, keeping silent for several long moments. "I don't know, it's more of a description than a name, you know? Pharaoh or not I'm known as 'Other Yugi' or 'Dark Yugi' because I'm a lot less innocent than you are. It just…doesn't strike me as a name, especially when you add Yami Bakura into the mix. Then we both get called 'Yami' and it just gets damn confusing, yeah? The dub instigated that."
Yugi couldn't argue the logic of what the spirit said. "So what about Mou hitori no boku?"
"…what?" Yugi asked again, completely confused.
"Why say only a few random words in Japanese if we're meant to be speaking one language? If the majority of what we say is in one language but then you toss in a few words here and there of another language, even if it's meant to be the main one spoken, then it just gets confusing Aibou!"
"Ai-who? Oh, you mean Partner! You have a point Other Me, but pretty much everyone knows the main Japanese words and phrases used so it's not really a problem, right?"
The Pharaoh settled his crimson gaze squarely onto Yugi's eyes and stared at him as though trying to convey the secrets of the universe to the shorter boy with the power of his optical organs.
"Yugi!" the spirit said in an admonishing tone.
"Yugi!" the spirit said again, this time in a partially pleading tone.
"Okay, okay, sorry!"
The spirit ran a hand through his blond bangs. "Let's just jump on the bandwagon for now and go with 'Yami' even though it's not a real name, okay?"
"Right!" Yugi happily agreed. "Now that that's out of the way we can get back to the plot."
"Plot? Oh, right! Where was I? Ah yes. I have a bad feeling, Yugi, as though something evil is headed this way," Yami said ominously, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"Don't worry Yami! Whatever it is we can handle it!" Yugi announced, his eyes alight with determination.
"…with a children's trading card game?"
"Business as usual then. You have school tomorrow so you better get to sleep. Just keep an eye out for anything strange," Yami warned.
Yugi nodded and bid the spirit a good night, retreating back to his soul room for some much needed rest. Yami followed suit through his own door, leaving the corridor cold, dark and empty.
Morning came without incident unless you count Yugi almost choking on a piece of toast while rushing around in an attempt to avoid being late to school. He grabbed his bag, said a muffled goodbye to his grandfather and ran out the door with half a slice of toast held in his teeth.
He met up with all of his friends at school and they sat in homeroom waiting for the teacher to arrive. They were happily chatting about various things and Yugi completely forgot about the dark feeling from last night. Even Ryou Bakura was joining in the conversation, chuckling quietly at Joey's enthusiastic story telling that included much arm waving to help illustrate points.
The teacher entered the room, prompting the various conversations between students to dwindle away. The teacher, a man of middling age with average features because he is an inconsequential character, stood behind his desk and cleared his throat. Everyone turned to him expectantly.
"Class, we have a new transfer student. Please welcome them. Come in," they called.
A girl walked shyly into the room, her hair hanging down to curtain her face and hide her eyes. Her hair was a very light blonde that bordered on white. She was a little on the short side; taller than Yugi by a good foot at least, and had a slender figure with curves that no girl that thin should have because it just isn't physically possible. Her hair, what parts of it that weren't hanging in her face, cascaded down her back, stopping at the base of her spine.
The teacher knew her hair length was against school rules, but he was unimportant and she seemed very pretty so he let it slide.
When the girl was next to the teacher's desk she stopped, turned towards the class and raised her head so everyone could now see her face.
Most of the class gasped and many of the boys started to drool.
Her eyes were a delicate shade of sky blue mixed with lilac. Even the smallest movement of her head could change the shade to completely blue or totally lilac depending on the light. They were outlined with black eyeliner and done in such a way that made her look exotic, like an Egyptian Queen of old. She had a slender heart-shaped face that gave her an innocently appealing look. Her nose was small and fit her face perfectly and her lips were full, covered by a faint sheen of dark pink lip gloss. Her skin was very light, like porcelain, and she looked like a beautiful, fragile doll.
\\Yugi, why has everything ground to a screaming halt?\\ the spirit suddenly asked.
Yugi gave a small start and frowned lightly. \Way to give me a heart attack, Yami. You know that no one can interrupt a description of a girl like this! You have to wait until it's over and that takes at least three medium-sized paragraphs on average.\
"Why don't you introduce yourself?" the teacher suggested.
The girl fidgeted, seemingly disliking being put on the spot. "Um…hello, my name is Mariko Suyo. I just moved here with my parents. My father is Japanese, but he's an ambassador and goes out of the country a lot. He met my mother in Egypt and yes, I'm half Egyptian. I was raised in Egypt for years until my father decided we should move here to Japan for…reasons. It is…very nice to meet…you all," she said, her eyes roaming around the room until they landed on Yugi during her last words.
\She's staring at me, Yami.\
\\What do you want me to do about it?\\
\Make her stop, she's creeping me out!\ Yugi mentally yelled, blushing at all the attention he was getting because the new girl was focused on him.
\\The things I do for you,\\ the Pharaoh grumbled good-naturedly. He was about to switch places with Yugi when a tingly jolt ran through his soul. He saw, through Yugi's eyes, the new girl. Her eyes were locked onto his; her gaze intense.
\I told you she was creepy,\ Yugi said matter-of-factly.
Yami hummed thoughtfully to himself for a moment. \\She is the new girl and the majority of your class seem quite enamoured of her. It seems odd that we would be thinking ill of her, especially since she is doing nothing but looking at us.\\
\You bring up good points. I have one too.\
\She's still staring at us.\
\\We've met lots of strange people. Man up and deal with it, Partner.\\
"Why don't you take the seat near Mr Mutou? Raise your hand Mr Mutou," the teacher said.
\Crap…\ Yugi thought with a wince. He shyly raised his hand, avoiding looking at the new girl's face as she walked past all of the other students and sat in the seat to his right.
She sent him a small smile before averting her gaze to the front as the teacher finally began the lesson. Yugi breathed a tiny sigh of relief as the attention shifted off him and the Pharaoh withdrew back into the Puzzle, leaving the link open enough that Yugi could easily call him if needed.
The time to lunch slowly ticked down but eventually the bell rang for break. The majority of the class hung back, sending not-so-subtle glances at Mariko more often that was strictly polite. The boys looked intrigued or hopeful although some looked wistful and forlorn, feeling that such a beauty would never look their way over the popular jocks and the pretty-boys. The girls looked envious, angry, depressed and calculating. If one of them could become friends with the new girl then the attention her looks brought would be a boon to whoever managed it. Others just hated her for outclassing them so easily.
Yugi usually stayed in the classroom, playing games at his desk with his friends. Sometimes they went up to the roof if it was a really nice day or they just needed some fresh air. He looked up as he noticed his friends around his desk. They too were sending the odd glance at the girl still sitting at the next desk.
Tristan looked a little conflicted. Yugi guessed that his love for Serenity was battling with the pure physical attraction for Mariko Suyo. Joey was sporting a dazed expression, the faintest pink hue dusting his cheeks. Téa looked disgruntled more than anything and Yugi thought that perhaps some jealousy was warring with Téa's usual friendly nature.
\\Expecting a trademark Téa Friendship Speech, partner?\\
\Okay, I'll admit that they can get annoying, but the basic message is a good one. Why do you ask?\
\\Oh, just some people grumbling. You're usually not paying attention to the other people in the hallways, but I hear quite a bit when I want to,\\ Yami said with shrug; the action coming across to Yugi as more of a feeling.
\What do they say?\ Yugi asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
\\They say that if she changes her name to Anzu then she won't be as annoying.\\
Yugi cocked his head to one side. \Why would she call herself Anzu? The only one with a Japanese name around here is me. Not counting the new girl! Wouldn't it sound a bit weird?\
\\Weird like Joey's accent?\\
\What's wrong with it? That accent is what makes Joey Wheeler…well, Joey Wheeler. Will calling him Jounouchi Katsuya get rid of his accent?\
\\Odds are it would,\\ the spirit replied nonchalantly. \\Where did you pull that name from?\\
Now it was Yugi's turn to shrug, mentally, or else people would think he was weirder than they already thought.
"Er, Yugi? Are you okay?" Téa asked in concern at her short friend's silence.
The King of Games had to resist the urge to bang his head onto his desk. "Yeah, just…thinking," he said, a slight emphasis on the last word. The look of understanding that flashed across her face let him know that she'd gotten the real meaning. Téa was quite smart, no matter what opinions other people held of her, Yugi thought.
"Did you guys want to go outside for lunch?" Yugi asked his friends.
Joey bent down and said in a quiet voice, "Should we invite the new girl?"
Glances were exchanged all around. Tristan nodded after a moment shortly followed by Téa. With some hesitation Yugi added his assent, gesturing for Joey to go ahead. The blond swallowed nervously and stepped across to Mariko's desk, shoving one hand into a pocket so that he couldn't twist his fingers together as he often did when nervous or embarrassed.
"Hey there! Mariko, right?" he asked, injecting as much confidence into his voice as he could manage.
Mariko looked up at Joey and smiled, showing off beautiful white teeth; not a single one of them crooked. "Yes, that's me," she answered softly. "You're Joey Wheeler, one of the top ranked duellists, right?"
This girl actually knows me and didn't overlook me! Joey thought with glee, liking the new girl more and more. "Yep, you got it! " he said proudly. "Anyway, me an' my friends here were wonderin' if you'd like ta join us for lunch outside?"
\\I'm a little surprised he got that all out,\\ Yami said.
\Why? Because Joey doesn't have the best track record with girls?\
\\No,\\ Yami replied with a chuckle. \\A lot of times it's easier to be lazy with the accent so Joey either doesn't say much or…doesn't sound like Joey.\\
\No Brooklyn Rage?\
\Blasphemy!\ Yugi mentally cried out.
\\Nyeh,\\ came the reply accompanied by that shrugging feeling.
Mariko's smiled softened and her eyes sparkled, making them look like chips of amethyst. "Oh, are you sure? I'd hate to impose," she said submissively.
Joey blushed and scratched his cheek idly with a finger. "It's no problem at all! We can help ya get settled in here and all if ya want."
"Then I accept your offer, thank you!" Mariko chirped brightly, her chair creaking slightly as she stood up.
The group plus one left the classroom to angry and envious looks from numerous classmates. The walk up to the roof was awkward; the silence broken only by the odd small questions and answers between Tristan, Joey, Téa and Mariko. When they finally reached the door to the roof they opened it to reveal a blue sky and comfortably warm sunshine with the occasional small cloud scattered about.
"Huh, the weather mentioned showers today," Yugi blurted out absently.
Joey scoffed. "Those weather people are often wrong. I get spooked a bit when they get it right."
"So Mariko, how long have you been in Domino?" Téa asked, standing beside the other girl. "I know you said you just moved here. Have you had enough time to settle in?"
Mariko tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "I've been in Domino for three days. I do like it here and even though I've spent the past three days unpacking and enrolling I do feel settled in, like I've been here for years."
"Do you miss Egypt?" Yugi asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
Mariko tilted her head thoughtfully, the light making her eye colour change like liquids mixing together. "I did say I liked it here and I really do, but I do miss Egypt. It feels like my heart is here but my soul is back in Egypt among the desert sands," she answered, her eyes once again catching Yugi's.
"We've met some people from Egypt before and…please don't take this the wrong way, but your skin seems such a light colour for you having lived there for years," Téa said somewhat awkwardly, looking at Mariko with a look that was equal parts curious and apologetic.
Yugi and Yami were both glad that Mariko was no longer looking at them.
\Her soul is among Egypt's sands? I'm not sure if she's just waxing poetic or alluding to you, Pharaoh,\ Yugi said to the spirit as casually as he could manage.
Yami hummed thoughtfully before replying. \\There is a way to find out.\\
\Oh? Do tell.\
\\You could bait her by dropping a hint back and see if she takes the bait. This could go either way, depending on what type of new girl she is.\\
Yugi stared blankly ahead, hoping no one noticed him spaced out. \Nope, you've lost me, pal.\
The spirit chuckled and sat on the throne in one of his main soul rooms. \\She'll either take the bait and reveal quite a bit…probably more than you'd ever want her to because she can't help herself and wants to spill all straight away while trying to give the illusion of mysterious secret keeper, therefore taking over almost straight away while we follow blindly. Or she will miss the bait and continue being the mysterious exotic new girl, only catching a glimpse of her secrets when something big happens and therefore turning her into the main focus for everything after making us run around researching her. I…honestly don't know if there's any middle ground for her type…\\
It took Yugi a few moments to digest that. \When did you become a psychoanalyst?\
\\I was the foremost judge in Egypt, Yugi. I've always been one,\\ Yami replied with a wry grin and a royal-like hand wave that Yugi couldn't see.
Ignoring the glaring plot-holes that reply brought into question Yugi decided to take the spirit's advice and go fishing. First he figured he'd better tune back into the conversation.
"-and so no one is sure why I don't have a tan. I hope that satisfies your curiosity, Téa," Mariko said.
Téa simply looked a little dazed, like the boys had been explaining cars and motorbikes again and she had tuned out because what they were saying made no sense to her. "Uh…yeah…thanks," she replied a little absently.
\Téa's handling this pretty well,\ Yugi mentally remarked, feeling a wave of agreement flow through the link seconds later. "My grandfather used to be an explorer and he loved Egypt. He used to tell me what he could about his favourite pharaoh. Do you have a favourite?" he asked, picturing a little stick figure casting out a line into the water in his mind.
Mariko took a moment to answer. "I don't have a favourite, per se… but there is one I find very intriguing."
"Who?" Joey asked, completely focused on the new girl.
"I don't know his name," Mariko said with a shrug. "There are only a few mentions of him scattered about and a portion of that time period has not been recorded or the records have been destroyed. It's exciting to wonder why there is no name, no real history for that pharaoh. Was he good? Was he evil? What happened during his reign? Oh, I'm sorry, this must be very boring to hear me chatter about…"
\Hook, line and sinker!\ Yugi thought victoriously. "Do you mean The Nameless Pharaoh?"
Mariko stared at Yugi. "Oh, you've heard of him then? Yes… I do believe that artefact hanging from your neck was taken from his tomb. Was that liberated by your grandfather from his favourite pharaoh's tomb?" she asked slyly.
Yugi couldn't stop the blush that spread across his cheeks at the thought that his grandfather really had stolen a priceless artefact from another country. "Er, well, yes…"
Mariko's eyes sparkled as she gave Yugi an evaluating look. Everyone ignored the grinding sound coming from Téa's teeth. Probably not a wise thing to ignore, but they were a bit distracted.
"There may not be much recorded history of that pharaoh," Mariko said slowly, "but there are stories…"
A/N: What to say about this… Uh… I was bored, rewatching Yu-Gi-Oh! and a Plot Bunny bit me really hard?
Actually that is true. But I was also strolling through the fandom here on FF dot net and the horrendous amount of clichés I saw almost made me cry. So I figured why not poke a bit of fun at the more common ones while in a sort-of story format with the main character(s) 4th wall aware and pointing things out?
I decided to do it as a challenge, just to see if I could. Also to help lighten up this fandom without a mushy slash fic or other gooey love story. And maybe…just maybe! some people will read this and rethink parts of their own fics to avoid the traps and pitfalls of clichés and Mary Sue-ism.
And yes, I came up with the name Mariko Suyo based off Mary Sue. Also yes, I watch YGOTAS. XD
I may write more, I may not… I started this on a whim. But if you want me to continue it then I'll do my best.
Please let me know what you think of this in a review! I really appreciate constructive criticism and am always looking to improve.