Toboe LoneWolf: …
Toboe LoneWolf: …Let's just get on with it.
Disclaimer: Toboe LoneWolf ain't got the rights to
YGO. Go rob Kazuki Takahashi for it. XD
Note: Shakespeare is public domain. No sue.
Toboe LoneWolf: This chapter has a lot of expository and explanations. (shrugs) It's the epilogue, anyway. Takes place a week later. (strikes pose) So come, dear readers, into the last chapter that is Lethally Hot!
Chapter Sixteen: Epilogue
A killer virus stalks the earth.
Now one person has the cure.
Someone really, really, really hates that.
x x x x x
Yugi woke up with sunlight shining painfully into his eyes. Groaning and shielding his eyes with his hand, Yugi curled inward to block out the light. Sleepily he berated himself for not covering up the skylights in his room. The light hurt.
Mumbling a bit, Yugi worked his right hand free of the sheets. Still with his eyes closed, he fisted his hand, and then released. In the cup of his hand was a growing globe of sparkling green light. Slowly Yugi brought his hand to his eyes, shaping the magic.
//Careful, Yugi,// Yami brushed against Yugi's mind. //Healing is delicate work.// With mental hands Yami guided his young protégé.
A week had passed by after the "miracle" at the hospital, and today was the first day Yugi was back home. With all the media hype and the medical community dumbfounded at this recovery-at-the-brink-of-death, Yugi had been detained at the hospital for another week, assuring doctors that he really was fine and telling reporters his "story" – not that he could tell them much, since the real story would've been preposterous. An ancient pharaoh's memories, an engineered immune system, and using magic to meld everything together? Definitely not.
Even then, the doctors were right about one thing – he wasn't fully recovered yet. Burning out the virus at such a late stage put a huge toll on Yugi's body. After one hour of "recovery" Yugi collapsed, having completely run out of both physical and magical reserves. Well, basically he'd flopped back onto the bed and slept for an entire day straight.
After that, he'd woken up sore and still tired. And then all of the complications kicked in, the pain relievers and adrenaline having worn off.
He was sore all over, which was no surprise since Ebola ate muscle tissue. Even his bones were sore – his joints popped like Grandpa for a few days. His ears were messed up too – he heard buzzing noises, or a high-pitched kreen, echoing in his ears. It made conversation hard.
The worse part was his eyes. Swollen and inflamed, Yugi couldn't open his eyes for long before they started tearing up. Everything was fuzzy, and sometimes he saw black spots. Not only that, but he was extremely sensitive to light. Nothing the doctors did helped – probably because this was a side effect of a 'magically' enhanced disease.
Thus the reason Yugi was attempting to heal himself.
He'd had a bit of success – soothing his muscles and fixing his ears, but Yugi was still untrained, and trying to heal his own eyes was delicate and difficult.
Yugi sighed. He thought he'd gotten it healed up yesterday, but the pain in the back of his eyes told otherwise. So much of the healing he'd done was only temporary…
Still shielding his eyes, Yugi got up and dug around his closet one-handedly. He'd dimmed his eyes, making them less sensitive to light, but until he'd figured out how to heal his eyes, he'd better wear sunglasses. He stood in front of the mirror for a moment, staring into now red-tinted violet colored eyes before slipping on the glasses. Yet another change…
Then he went down for breakfast. As Yugi opened the refrigerator, squinting, Grandpa came into the kitchen, about to head to the Game Shop area of the house to manage the store. He stopped as he saw Yugi's new accessory…so to speak.
Yugi yawned and took out a carton of orange juice. "Light sensitivity."
Grandpa blinked. "Well, that's different." Shaking his head, Solomon continued his way. Yugi smiled a bit. After everything between Duelist Kingdom, his family had gotten used to weird things. …Even his mom.
Rummaging around the kitchen Yugi picked out a few things to eat, then sat down. Bringing the cup to his lips, Yugi was a bit surprised when Yami spoke.
//Yugi, what is that?//
Yugi blinked several times. /Orange juice./
That was another side effect – or whatever it was. Whatever had happened in that 24 hour span, there were holes in Yami's memory. He'd know a name but not what it looked like, or what it was used for, or who the person was. Long stretches of memory were suddenly gone – Yami would know the beginning and the end, but nothing in the middle. Memories of talking to Joey cut off right in the middle of the conversation, like there was a blackout, or a hole, simply right in the middle of his memories. However, no memories that involved Yugi were lost. A memory that consisted of Yugi and the rest of the gang at a party had Yugi in clear vision, and the rest – blank.
Yami sighed. //Another hole, I suppose.//
/Geez, I can't believe you forgot what orange juice was./
Yugi rolled his eyes and continued eating breakfast. …Considering that he'd survived a deadly disease, fought a magical battle, brought back his other self from the shadows, and was wearing sunglasses to breakfast, Yugi was taking life pretty well.
Then again, he'd had a lot of experience in weird and dangerous situations.
//Such is life when you deal with strange magical artifacts with spirits living inside them.//
/Hnnn,/ Yugi answered.
…Yep, everything was pretty low key.
Yugi blinked at the telephone. And did nothing for a moment. Alright, so his brain wasn't quite functioning right, what'd you expect with an exotic virus that ate brains? Geez. Yugi picked up the phone.
"Hey, Moto residence. Who's speaking?"
Yugi blinked again. Several times. And stared at the receiver. Okay, his brain was definitely not working right. He would've sworn that was Malik.
Dubiously Yugi spoke back. "Malik?"
"The one and only." Malik laughed a bit, and then cut himself off. This was no laughing matter. "Yugi, I have to warn you about something. I heard about…the Ebola thing. I don't think it was a freak accident. I think it was sent."
Yugi froze. "What?"
"Did you hear about the intern that died?"
"…Yes. He died while studying my…blood samples."
"Yeah, but I'll bet they didn't tell you this: He died with a message burned into his body. A message that read,
'Cursed is every man who looks upon my creation. To see my secret is to die. He who looks shall be consumed by fire and ice. Terror shall seize him, for I am Apep's favored one. I claim this as my slave, my offering. I claim this as my revenge. Hail to the shadows.'
"That's not all, Yugi. I got a note last week, sent to me with no return address. It read,
'The Ravager shall strike again.
Unfulfilled vengeance does not die so easily.
It shall return when its incarnate bids it.
Until then, let the black breath be unleashed.
All hail the shadows.' "
The words echoed in Yugi's mind as his face paled, hearing Bakura's haunting voice whispering those same words.
Yugi's ears roared as his other self seethed in rage. Bakura? The thief? Had it been him all this time, watching, waiting, walking inside his aibou's mind? Sent? This, the work of three thousand years, coming back by Bakura's command? The hidden Pharaoh struggled to control the shadows that writhed in fury.
Only when Yugi gasped as he felt his ears pop did Yami throttle his rage down.
/Shhh, Yami./ Yugi swallowed. /I'm fine. I understand you want his guts. But there must be some sort of explanation. Ryou…/
"…Yugi?" Malik spoke from the phone receiver. "You there?"
"Oh! Yeah, I'm here…just surprised."
"Sure, it's not everyday you get a homicidal manic wanting your blood," Malik drawled. "You have one of the most messed-up lives in the world, Yugi."
With an awkward snap things went back into relative normality. Yugi rolled his eyes and laughed weakly, pushing dark thoughts away for the moment.
x x x x x
He was called the Man Who Creates Death by those that served him.
And he was not pleased.
Though he sat in his darkened room, seething, he did not resort to epithets. Though the glass tube quivered in his slowly tightening grip, he did not – quite – fall over the edge of madness. He had trained and conditioned far too long to lose to emotions.
Though the glass tube did begin to crack. But just a little.
Tapping the glass tube against the table, he spoke into the air.
"My pets have brought me the news. My congratulations. You have won, yet again. Another round in the game of life, in your favor."
The man smiled sardonically. "Yes, you truly are the King of Games, whether in the game of life or in games of death. Or even," he set down the glass tube, and shadows swirled around the opening, "in games of shadows."
Standing up, he faced eastward. "Fine then. Let us play one final game, Pharaoh. Let us play a game already predetermined by fate." The man laughed. A bitter laugh, strangely enough. "For you may be the King of Games, true, but I…I control the prize."
Sweeping a black coat on and flicking a hand outward, he stopped pacing around the room, sending the animals surrounding him to pull back in fear. He smiled.
"So cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war…"
x x x x x
Kaiba allowed himself one growl as he tapped away on his laptop.
He'd been stuck in that hospital for three days – one more than everyone else, barring Yugi. How in the world Joey Wheeler and the rest had been able to recover faster than him, even that Ryou kid…well, needless to say, Kaiba was a bit piqued.
Kaiba tried concentrating on his work. The media had been having a field week with KaibaCorp, linking Kaiba to everything from an illicit love affair, another attempted takeover, and aliens taking over his mind. If anything, their stories got worse the more connected he became to Yugi.
…Kaiba stopped typing at that thought. Connected? To Yugi?
Much as he'd like to deny it, Kaiba couldn't. He'd had one too many interactions with Yugi to dismiss it. The problem was, once he accepted that he was, after all, connected in some way to Yugi, that opened an even bigger can of worms. Like the priest thing.
…Oh no, not that argument again. Kaiba shoved that thought far away. Resolutely Kaiba went back to work.
Mokuba cracked open the door. "Nii-sama? …Um, lunch."
Kaiba looked up. "Mokuba, you didn't have to bring me lunch. I have employees that can do that."
"Well yeah, but…today I wanted to." Mokuba stuck out his chin. "So here."
Kaiba looked at the lunch tray with slight distaste.
…Kaiba reached for the chopsticks.
Kaiba ate in silence, browsing information on his laptop as he did so. Mokuba just watched, glad to be in the company of his older brother. They did not need to talk, or rather, they did not need to edge around a potentially touchy subject.
Seto lowered his chopsticks. "What you heard from…them is true. I did go inside Yugi's mind." He paused. "A great deal of it is irrelevant."
Mokuba snorted. Seto narrowed his eyes a bit.
"Anything that involves you and Yugi is rarely 'irrelevant,' " Mokuba grinned. "I was there at Battle City, remember? I saw it all." His face became serious. "Something's bothering you, nii-sama."
A long stretch of silence. Seto thought long and hard on just what to reveal to his little brother. How much? All, or none? And just what? So much had happened in the twenty-four hour time span, so much of it strange and magical, that Seto did not know even what he should say.
Mokuba, his mind whispered. He knows you. He was there too, when Yugi started babbling about ancient pasts and priesthood. He was there, he saw—
Seto Kaiba put down his bowl and chopsticks, setting them aside. Wordlessly their eyes met.
—and maybe he'll understand—
Seto Kaiba traced his fingers down the black table, making a mark of old…
…And black shadows swirled.
—I think I am.
x x x x x
Yugi sat on the roof, his arms wrapped around his legs, tightly hugging them to his chest. Tilting his head back he felt the sun's rays on his face. Though he may not be able to see clearly, he could still feel the sun's glorious, dimming rays. In the back of his mind, Yugi felt the spirit reveling in the feeling as well.
He'd done this on a whim. After so long in the hospital, and then being stuck inside, Yugi just wanted to get outside. The ledge right outside his window was perfect. Besides, he needed time to just…think. He rested his head against his knees.
So much had happened. Almost dying, learning newfound magic, dealing with irritated priests and dangerous thieves, a whole new realm of memories unleashed, a new possible threat – everything just seemed…surreal. Did all of this happen? Or was it a dream within a dream? Did it matter?
The others seemed to be doing fine. At least Joey, Tea and Tristan were having (relatively) normal lives. To them, it was just another strange event in their lives. Even Ryou was doing fine. According to him, the spirit of the Ring had been surprisingly quiet. Although that might be because of Ryou's father's presence. This time, at least, Ryou's father was going to stay longer than the weekend-long trips before. That was good.
As for Kaiba…Kaiba was a puzzle. Yugi hadn't had any contact with him ever since the day they woke up. Mokuba had come, though, asking about what had happened. Yugi told him a much abbreviated story, though Yugi left in a few things…like Kaiba's place as priest, and Kaiba's role in opening the seventh memory. Mokuba left a bit calmer after that.
But for himself? Yugi let out a huge sigh.
/It's all just too much./ Yugi answered Yami's unspoken question. /I don't know what to think./
//…Then perhaps it is best not to think at all.//
Yugi raised an eyebrow. /That's new, coming from you./
//There are some things that are written down, and others left to, as philosophers say, "free will,"// Yami said. He'd had a long time to think about this, ever since Malik's phone call. The tomb robber… no. Even if the tomb robber was still after him, and consequentially, Yugi, Yami would not let such thoughts plague his mind.
Yami smiled and mentally tapped Yugi's forehead. //Life is like a river – the course is set, but the current is ever changing. And we are a mere drop in the river, traveling our course, until we reach the ocean.//
//The end,// Yami corrected. //It's not the same.//
/It's not the same, when you're neither alive nor dead./ Yugi pointed out, and then smirked. /Kinda like you./
Yugi closed his eyes. /I think I get what you're saying though, mou hitori no boku. Sometimes…we just have to live in the moment./
Yugi uncurled his legs and leaned back, feeling the breeze rustle through his hair. So what? So what if there was someone after him? There was always someone after him. It was enough to be alive, to feel the wind in his face, to see the blue in the sky, even if it was tinted gray through his sunglasses. They'd gotten through it all, and they'd get through the rest of life too, even if it was the strangest life on earth.
Yami smiled. //It's good to be alive.//
Yugi threw back his head and laughed. Yes, it was good to be alive.
Author's End Notes:
Toboe LoneWolf: …And that is the end of Lethally Hot.
Djanil: Oh cheers.
Toboe LoneWolf: …Yeah, the ending was really cheesy. Reaaaaallly cheesy. I can't write beginnings or endings; I've always known that, and this was no exception. The only thing I can write are middles, and even that is half-best because I keep adding threads until it's a tangled web of…stuff. For some reason I could not find a way to add much humor into this bit, oddly enough. It's so…sad. I've worked on this for three years now. It's my pride and joy, half-baked as it is, and it's sad to see it end. … But why am I all sad anyways? Two words: CAST PARTY!
Yami: Oh. No.
Toboe LoneWolf: (evil grin) Oh, yes. For behold! I bring you 'Toboe LoneWolf's Lair', my new webpage! Links, spoilers, art, explanations, it's all there! And if that isn't enough, I now also have a deviantart account! This currently has a pic of Bakura and the Ravager, and I plan on getting an Atem scene from LH too, once I (attempt) to color it. So yes…finally, a pic of the Ravager, even though it's with my have mediocre drawing ability. So go forth and explore! Links on bio-page.
I also want to add that due to fanfiction(dot)net policy of not replying to reviews, these have been removed from ff(dot)net and placed on my webpage. Review replies to last chapter are also on there. And, of course, the cast party. XD
And…dun dun dun….there will be a sequel! Huzzah!
Yami: Oh joy.
Toboe LoneWolf: Yes, Lethally Hot is over. Finale. Finished. But I have left one major thing out: who dunnit, and how? In all honesty, I never planned a sequel. But as I was writing this, I started wondering about it, and also found a kinda big plot hole. (sheepish) It'll probably span only 5 to 7 chapters. Very short. It won't tie in very much with Lethally Hot, as in I don't think it'll be crucial to read LH before the sequel…though it'll probably help. XD What I do plan, is to write the whole thing out before I start posting. As you're probably well aware, I take a long time to update. Now that I'm in college, it'll be even slower. This was supposed to only take one month…and well, you see, it didn't come out that way. And I really don't want to have three month breaks between chapters. So…I'll write it all up beforehand. I have bits and pieces, I just need to string them together. (sweatdrop) Along with a plot, eh-heh…XD In the meantime, I'll be posting up one-shots, short chapters as in Bible Stories or Guardian Angel (different fandom). Feel free to bug me via aim/e-mail. I feel lonely in college. XD
I do want to point out though, that Lethally Hot will have ramifications in practically all of my YGO works. I like linking things together. So yes, although there will be a sequel, even now there are links to LH. And I'm not going to limit it to only YGO, either…I'm planning also to link LH to whole different fandoms. (Plural, hah. XD) Not a crossover, but…yes, linkages. Because diseases are universal.
In the meantime, watch out for the sequel, called:
Eye of the Cobra: Yugi survived the first attack. That made someone really mad. That someone's decided to unleash Plan B: Biological Meltdown. Somehow Yugi has to stop it before everyone he knows is wiped out…
(waves) So there you have it. I hope that you readers enjoyed reading Lethally Hot as I have writing it, through the pain, sweat, lack of sleep; the bumps and awkward phrasing; the fifty-billion plot attempts I did, and enjoyed the three year endeavor I made melding science and magic. A huge thank you to you all, for those that stuck it out with me. …So, is there more to be said? Of course there is. Writing never ends.
So for the last time, please review and make a little Ravie plushie and lonely wolf happy.