Desiderata: Things to be desired; something that is highly desirable.

Author's Note: Weird, weird little idea that hit me forever ago. After reading it again, I think that maybe I could have done it better, but was afraid that a rewrite would have lost something, so I left it.

Warning(s): One sided IsisRyou, mentioned NCS/CS Bakura/Ryou.

For the rayemars! For bugging me about it, and being just plain spiffy like that.

Desiderata

"I have never seen a vision nor learned a secret that could damn or save my soul."

Armand, Interview With The Vampire

Ryou took the steps at the museum two at a time. The sense of urgency still plagued him and he only felt more panicked as he came closer and closer to his destination.

It all felt familiar, so very familiar. His other had walked these steps…ran them. He was sure of it.

The fraction of a memory had hit him in the middle of lunch at school.

A flash.

…of cognitive memory and then it had vanished. Like a dream, the more he tried to remember it the foggier the details got and the more frustrated he became.

He would have forgotten about it and accepted it as Fate that he could not remember had he not passed the museum on the way home that day. What had made him take the alley shortcut instead of his usual main street one? He never really knew.

The moment he saw the doors of the museum the picture from his mind flared for a moment, superimposing itself over the scene before him, and he knew.

He wrenched open the doors and ran a few steps inside before a look from one of the guards caused him to slow down. The museum was fairly empty, with only a few people meandering about for whatever reasons they had.

Ryou felt a tug.

A flash.

…of memory. Another picture superimposed against his vision.

The stairwell.

He could barely make it out, but at the end of a not so well lit hallway was what he could barely make out to be a stairwell. He moved towards it, expecting anything to happen, but most of all for his other to take over and put an end to his mystery solving.

But the spirit stayed blissfully quiet, and Ryou dared to open his mind a sliver to try and see what the other was up to. A heartbeat, not his own, and another set of breaths. Soft and even. Sleeping? To describe what his other was doing as sleeping was incredulous to Ryou and he quickly amended his thoughts. The spirit was resting…

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Ryou gently hopped over the cloth chain with the 'Do Not Enter' sign hanging on it. The linoleum of the steps betrayed his entrance, but Ryou couldn't seem to make himself care. His heartbeat came faster and faster and he knew he was getting closer.

It wasn't strange for him to 'wake up' in another place in another time with more than a few bruises from acts he couldn't remember doing. But not this time; this time he had a sliver of a memory floating around and something in him refused to let him forget or retreat for that matter.

At the bottom of the stairs florescent lighting washed the room in bright light, and Ryou blinked a few times. Stone slabs with hieroglyphics carved into them hung on the wall in protective glass frames.

A flash.

…this one of a woman dressed in ceremonial garb and talking with the Yugi's other. The viewpoint was slightly askew and Ryou turned, easily finding the corner that his other had been looking around at the scene.

What had the Spirit wanted here? It was just a museum, right? Filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts yes, but his other was a thief, not a scholar. What could he have possibly wanted to know? Was it something to do with what that woman and Yami had been talking to?

Ryou frowned and looked over at a glass-encased stone slab. His father had tried to teach him how to read them, but he hadn't ever really tried and his father had finally given up. It wasn't that it hadn't interested him, it was just that it was his father's way of forgetting things. By working until he could forget…

Ryou wasn't the type to forget; he was the type to brood.

An almost silent swish of clothing on tile, and Ryou turned. His breath caught at the sight of who had come upon him in the restricted exhibit. He blinked once, twice…

"Ryou Bakura."

If possible, Ryou's heart started to beat even more frantically in his chest, and he morbidly wondered if fourteen-year-olds could have heart attacks.

"Why have you come here?" Her voice was smooth and rich and calm and the exact opposite of everything Ryou wanted his to be. This was the woman that his other had been spying on with Yugi's other.

"W-who are you?" He asked, his voice unsteady.

"I would ask the same question of you had I not already known." She replied, looking him over a moment and gauging something. "No matter, I am Isis."

Ryou swallowed and nodded, a dumb gesture in hindsight, but the best he could manage at the time.

"You've come to find answers."

Ryou felt cold rush over him and for a second he feared his other was waking, but the feeling passed and he just nodded.

"You are the Bearer of the Ring?"

Ryou would have questioned why she knew his name even though she had never met him, but had to ask if he had the Ring when it was hanging around his neck, but he was too confused by the question.

"Bearer?"

Isis came closer and then swept by Ryou, almost brushing his arm.

"The Items chose their counterparts…" She said, turning back and looking at him. Ryou swallowed, taking the hint and walking beside her, deeper into the basement. "The Bearers are chosen."

"The spirit chose me?" Ryou asked, and then bit his lip. No one was supposed to know.

Delicate shoulders shook with silent amusement.

"The Items, not the spirits that inhabit them, chose their counterparts."

Ryou continued to gnaw on his lower lip, almost biting too hard when he saw something in a jar, pickled in formaldehyde. Isis continued past it, paying it no mind. Ryou gave whatever it was a wide berth.

They took another set of stairs back up and immerged in a quieter section of the museum, amidst some exhibit about the Valley of the Kings.

"How long have you bore the Ring, Ryou?" Her voice was quiet and she looked over her shoulder at him as they walked.

"I'm not really sure…maybe a year?" He offered quietly, as though she would turn and correct him. Sometimes he couldn't be sure if he had forgotten something or if he was just lying.

She nodded and closed her eyes for a moment. "Then you don't know about it. Nor did the Pharaoh's counterpart. And I doubt my brother knows…" She trailed off, and Ryou had the feeling that she was speaking more to herself than to him at the moment.

"Know what?" Ryou asked, feeling fear creep back into him. What didn't he know? Perhaps the best question would be what did he know? Ever since the Spirit, he was finding more and more gaps in his memory.

"The Items cannot be destroyed or thrown away, but you know that already."

Ryou gave her a questioning look and she tilted her head slowly to the side.

"I'm speaking of Duelist Kingdom."

Ryou swallowed again and nodded. Tristan had tried to dispose of the Ring in the tower. The Ring had merely found him again, and Ryou instantly blocked out the memory of the punishment.

"The Items bond two souls together on a level of existence man does not yet know how to control." She said, running a long finger along the edge of a table that held bits of pottery, some boasting of once holding royal organs. "But it bonds them for a purpose, and it will do all that it must to ensure that nothing happens to the Bearer until their job has been completed."

Ryou's eyes followed hers to a sarcophagus that was also encased in protective glass. A nameplate bore the title of some long dead royal leader, whose country and traditions had created one of the most frightening prophecies Ryou had ever come to know first hand.

"It-it protects us? How?"

"Time," Isis said, and left it at that.

"Time?" Ryou echoed.

Isis paused and looked at an archeologist's sketches of floors he had traversed on an excavation, she studied the clumsy handwriting as though she might have once known the man, but moved on a moment later.

"The Items hold power unimaginable. They can bend Time as they see it fit. Particles of Fate were somehow embedded into them when they were created."

"Particles of what?" Ryou asked, looking confused and in disbelief.

"Fate. The Egyptian people had technology that is still a mystery to us today. It is said that the Items were created to lock away a power until the right moment. Fate must be altered or curbed to have the desired affect, and the Egyptians did so."

"So the Items…" Ryou started.

"Are more powerful than the spirits that reside within them, yes," Isis explained.

"So they can appear and disappear as they chose?" Ryou was having a hard time trying to understand that a bit of metal was as sentient as the parasitic spirit that could take control of his body when it wanted.

"You stop aging," She said suddenly, as though Ryou hadn't picked up the thread that she had wanted.

"You what?!" Ryou said, taking a step back and bumped into a stand that had a farming tool on it. The stand swayed dangerously, but a hand reached around him and settled it.

"Yes. The Item freezes your Fate until you complete the Fate that it wants first," she said, her voice as calm as ever. "That is how it works. It won't let you go until it is finished. Until the final act and the curtain falls, and even then you don't get the years back instantly. You merely start again. At the age you stopped."

"Like a few free years of life…" Ryou trailed off looking at the floor.

"Or Purgatory. Whatever you wish to call it, young one." Isis replied. She looked at an exhibit as they passed it, instantly recalling years and dates, and even scenes of the past that no other had seen but herself.

"How old are you?" The question sliced through the empty halls without tack.

Momentary confusion flitted across cold blue eyes. "I'm nineteen."

Ryou cut in, a bit hastier than he had wanted, but he felt the urge to correct himself. "No, no, I meant how old should you be?"

Isis smiled, slightly at first and then wider. "I should be thirty-two years old this year."

Ryou's eyes widened and he stopped walking for a moment. "Thirty-two?"

Isis nodded and took a step forward. "Yes, I was given the Tauk when I was nineteen. I have lived almost two of my lives till that point, if you will. I have seen much in the present, almost as much as I have seen of the past and of the future."

"But-but why?" Ryou asked. Why would anyone let a piece of history rule their lives? Why was he doing the same thing? "Why don't you just…destroy it!?" He asked desperately.

"Ah, the answer to your earlier question," she said, smiled and tilting her head to the side, gracefully and Ryou found himself watching her. "The Items have Fate in them, as I mentioned before. Fate is far more powerful than any one person seeking to destroy or create a better life for themselves. It is 'the way things are to be'."

She looked up at him, and for the first time their eyes met. Cold blue eyes met warm brown ones and a connection of anamnesis was made.

A flash…

…this time of screaming, and hands, and laughter. There were men and the eyes he was looking through had that telltale bit of snow-white hair that fell in their eyes. A girl, not more than fifteen, was twisting away from numerous pairs of hands.

"Get her to be quiet. We have work to do." His mouth, but not his mouth, moved to form the order.

"We'll keep her quiet, Sheikh…" Sneering and laughter. Ryou tried to back out of the memory. He knew…but he didn't want to know what was going to happen.

Suddenly the clamor of where he had been died instantly, and he was standing in front of her again. Ryou couldn't control the pants of frightened air that fell in and out of him. He was trembling and he hated himself for it.

Ryou started to back away and Isis merely watched. He had wanted answers, but not this. He had wanted to know what had driven the Spirit, and about its past, but this?

He felt the cool touch of a wall behind him and flattened himself against it.

"I-I-I didn't know…I never-he-he doesn't tell me…I would never have…"

She walked towards him, watching and gauging his trembling body.

"I take care not to live in the past. I see enough of it. Stories of people long since gone, and I take care to remember that I am not a part of it any longer."

Ryou continued to stare. She had been there. It had been her, he knew it.

"I am reborn, Ryou. The Tauk is without spirit, merely waiting for mine to return to it, and I have and it's Fate is almost carried out. Take heed to remember that the past is merely the past. A walking path that we can choose or not choose to follow."

Her eyes were cold, and they appeared to ice over when she bent down and let her hand come close to cupping his face. He could feel her heat, could imagine the touch, but it never came.

"I think I've grown rather fond of you, Ryou." Isis whispered, causing Ryou to balk at the feel of another's breath on his face. "You're the first person in fifteen years that I've noticed."

Ryou's eyes widened, giving off the impression of a startled animal. Unsure of its surroundings and even more unsure of its company.

"I know what you do for him, Ryou. You give yourself to him so that he won't hurt you. He has not changed in all these millennia. You think he has the upper hand, but I think it's you, Ryou. I admire that kind of strength, that kind of hidden power." Her hand came closer to his cheek and his eyes searched hers. "I want to touch you, feel your skin, hold you. Is it because I think you would give yourself to me so that I wouldn't hurt you? Perhaps."

The hand fell away. "But I deny myself. As I always have."

She turned away from him, the priestess gown flowing about her frame like a mist, the raven hair splaying just slightly underneath the headdress. Ryou realized he really hadn't said anything to her, and that he was afraid, and that the room felt cold, and that his feet had taken to begging him to let them run.

Isis turned back to Ryou, how was still staring at his sneakers. "One more thing, Ryou, before you go."

"Yes?" he asked. Still frightened, still wary. Why wouldn't she blame him for his other's past? He was unsure of everything, and not wanting to know anymore than he had already found out.

"May I kiss you…once?" Her face gave no indication of the request, only that she had spoken and was waiting for a reply.

Ryou paused, not sure of what to do or say. Wanting it and not wanting it at the same time. Anxious and fearful at the same moment. He nodded slightly, not letting his eyes stray from hers. He felt like a child in the presence of a woman, and with the information he had been given, he knew this was true.

She walked back the few steps that had separated them and Ryou wondered why he had nodded. Maybe he was hoping that she was forgiving him for his other's past, or that maybe she was comforting him after all he'd learned.

She bent slightly and he lifted his head a fraction of an inch to meet her. Her lips brushed his. Nothing more, just an instant of contact, a fraction of a second in which they allowed themselves to touch.

A flash…

…this time…Ryou stopped it. He wasn't the spirit, he wasn't anyone but himself. His memories were his own, and the spirit's its own.

They didn't blink.

Isis pulled away and smiled. "Thank you, Ryou."

Ryou swallowed and gave a weak nod, feeling, again, like a child. But this time, like one that had been forgiven for a sin he had not yet committed.

Finish

End Note: Sheikh - (Arabic) Leader