Hot Sands, Warm Arms

by WSJ

WSJ: ;¬¬ My first try at a "sickly sweet" romance that isn't part angst and/or part drama. *sigh* But amazingly, it IS part humor... What is this world coming to? ;)

Summery: Semi-AU. American millionaire Pegasus Crawford is funding an expedition to Egypt, and will only hire the best of the best. Those "best" happen to be a husband/wife team and a pair of old men from Japan, as well as two archaeologists from Egypt itself. When Pegasus and his wife Cynthia go out to the dig themselves to complete the team, who knows what bizarre antics could ensue?

Notes: As I said, semi-AU. Pegasus doesn't have the Eye (at least, not yet), and Cynthia isn't dead (at least, not yet ^~). Other minor changes, most dealing with reletive ages, you may or may not notice, and aren't especially important. The most prominant one is that Isis and Shaadi are both in their twenties, and Malik is in his teens while Yuugi and the others are just being born.

Why? Why did I write this? ^^ I guess because I'm a Pegasus-fan, but no one portrays him as anything other then a crazed villain or an angsty drunk. *shrug* He must have been happy once upon a time, and this story is that time. ^~ Plus, I wanted to focus on a few of the most minor characters whom I love to death...

Couplings: Ehhhh... I don't want to give anything away... ^^; I'll tell at the beginning of next chapter, although it's rather obvious one of the couples is going to be Pegasus/Cynthia.

'....' written words


Hot Sands, Warm Arms

Chapter 1 -- Flying Pregnant Is Not Fun

Quote of the chapter:

"There are nowhere near enough normal duelists in this place!"
~(Tristan; DarkGatomon; As If!)

Motou Sugoroku, rather-aged owner of the Kame Game Shop, was sweeping the front pourch, as always, when the mail arrived.

"Good morning Motou-san," the mailman said cheerfully as he hopped down from his truck, pulling a package and several letters out with him. "New stock coming in?" he indicated the package.

Sugoroku frowned slightly and leaned the broom up against the side of the shop. "I don't think so. And besides, no stock of mine would come in such small quantities as to be in a package that small."

The mailman shrugged as he handed Sugoroku the mail and the package. "None of my business, I was just wondering." He waved cheerfully as he hopped back up into his truck and pulled away.

Curious as to who would be sending him a package, Sugoroku went inside and set it down on the counter, looking around for a pair of scissors to cut the tape. The package was about the size of a loaf of bread, although it was a bit fatter. No return address was visable.

Inside Sugoroku found an even smaller package wrapped in plain brown paper, a sealed envelope, an unsealed envelope, and a magazine. The magazine he recognised right away. It was Archaeologists Digest, an English-language magazine based out of Cairo that he subscribed to and also regularly wrote articles for. This issue was the latest one. Puzzled, Sugoroku flipped through it until he came to a page where a portion of an article was circled in what looked like red crayon.

'And on the American front, the young millionaire Pegasus James Crawford is funding an expedition to Egypt, of which he and his wife will be the head. They have attained permission from the Egyptian government to excavate just to the south of the Valley of the Kings, where Crawford predicts that they will find even more tombs then in the Valley itself.

"It's intuition," Crawford told us in a recent interview. "Purely a hunch, but one that Cynth and I both think will pay off." Of the other members of his team Pegasus refused to comment. "They are all noted archaeologists," he did tell us. "Only the best. I am in the process of contacting them even now." '

Sugoroku blinked, and then blinked again. What in the world...? Picking up the open envelope, he pulled several sheets of paper out of it, all of them covered in neat cursive handwriting. "Dear Mister Motou," the first page began.

'As you probably already know, my husband, Pegasus Crawford, is putting together a team of eight archaeologists, including ourselves, to excavate in Egypt near the Valley of the Kings. He has heard much of your many discoveries, and we would be honored if you would join us and add your vast knowledge and wisdom to our cause. If you are still hesitant, perhaps the enclosed gift will let you reconsider. Plane tickets to Cairo are enclosed in the sealed envelope. If you deside to join us Pegasus and I will meet you at the Cairo airport next Saturday. You'll be on the same flight as three others of our team who are also coming from Japan. If you deside not to come, we understand. Just send the tickets back unopened and keep the gift. Thank you very much for your time. Sincerly, Cynthia Renée Crawford'

Sugoroku sat back in his chair, absently chewing on the end of his mustache. He had to admit, it was tempting, but he was getting up in years. And with his daughter-in-law being pregnant with his first grandchild... He was still on Cairo's roster of active archaeologists, he supposed, but that would have to change.

Sighing, Sugoroku shook his head. He'd heard a lot about this hot-shot young millionaire Crawford, and he was sorry to miss the chance to work with him. If rumor could be believed, Pegasus's father had died when Pegasus was only twelve, leaving him as the sole heir to the entire Crawford fortune. He'd married his childhood love Cynthia at eighteen, and even now Pegasus was only 21, Cynthia even younger at just 20. Yes, Sugoroku would have liked to meet them personally. Ah well, with little Yuugi on the way it couldn't be helped.

Remembering the paper-wrapped present, Sugoroku sat up again and lifted it out of the box. It was only about the size of his hand, but he was surprised at the weight of it. It had to weigh at least a pound! Pulling the paper away, Sugoroku's breath caught in his throat.

Laying in his hand was what had to be a fortune in crystal. It was a clear, completely pure crystal pyramid, not a flaw anywhere to be found. The tip was made of a small triangle of gold, just as the Great Pyramid had been at one time. Etched into one side in delicate strokes was the unmistakeable (at least to an archaeologist) design of the Eye of Horus.

Eyes as wide as saucers, Sugoroku revrently set the pyamid down on the counter and just stared at it. If Pegasus was willing to spend this much money on a "casual" gift, he either had lots and lots of money to toss around or he really wanted Sugoroku on this expedition. Sugoroku suspected it was a combination of both.

He was startled out of his reverie by the bell over the door chiming in announcement that someone had come in. Tearing his eyes away from the little million-dollar pyramid he looked up. "Ah, good day, welcome to the Kame..." he started to say, and then trailed off. For a moment he and the visitor just looked at each other, and then the visitor's eyes wandered the the pyramid sitting on the counter.

Relaxing and smiling wryly, Arthur Hawkins raised an eyebrow. "Ah, so you've been invited along as well, my old friend?" Mutely Sugoroku nodded, and Arthur chuckled. "Well then, what are you waiting for! We've got to pack man, it's already Thursday! That plane leaves tomorrow!"

"I'm not going," Sugoroku said quietly.

Arthur's face transformed into a look of vast surprise. "N-not going? Sugoroku, how can you just "not go"? You'd miss the chance to work with the Crawfords... with the Bakuras!"

This intrested Sugoroku very much, and his head snapped up to look at his old friend. "The Bakuras?"

Arthur nodded. "Hai. In the sealed envelope with the plane tickets, which I assume you haven't opened yet, is a list of the other members of the team." He pulled a piece of folded paper out of his pocket. "America: Pegasus and Cynthia Crawford." he read. "Egypt: Shaadi Abdul and Isis Ishtar."

"I've heard of Miss Isis," Sugoroku said thoughtfully. "Supposedly she's one of the best Egyptian historians there is."

"Yes yes," Arthur said impatiently. "That's because the Ishtar family can be traced back to King Tutankhamen's time and beyond. Now let me get on with the list. Japan: Arthur Hawkins, Sugoroku Motou, and," here Arthur's voice took on a bit of smug satisfaction. "Angeline and Shen Bakura."

"Okay, okay, you're right," Sugoroku said, holding up his hands in defence. "But I thought Angeline-san was on maternaty leave."

Arthur shrugged. "Beats me. Maybe they won't come then. But you can't just let this pass by Sugoroku!"

Sugoroku sighed, rubbing a hand over his eyes. "Watch me. I want to be here for Yuugi's birth, I don't want to miss that. I can't miss that. I'm sorry Arthur, give my regards to the Crawfords."

Arthur sighed, but nodded. He was about to say something else when the phone rang. Holding up his finger in a wait-a-minute gesture, Sugoroku picked it up. "Hello, Kame Game Shop, this is Motou Sugoroku." His eyes widened a little as he listened to the person on the other end. "What? Meiko's gone into labor already?! But she's three weeks early! .... Yes, of course I'll be right there." He hung up the phone and was starting to pull on his coat when he noticed the triumphant grin on Arthur's face and knew his friend had won. They'd both be going to Egypt this year.

But that was tomorrow, and right now Sugoroku had to get to the hospital.


Angeline growled at her husband from her possition leaning over the waist basket in a shadowed corner of a small airport café. "Shen, I swear, you are never getting me pregnant again!" She choked and leaned over the basket to throw up again. Shen sweatdropped as he held her long hair back from her face. Already into her second trimester, Angeline was beginning to show that she was carrying their child.

"Angeline," he tried again. "We shouldn't be going to Egypt this year. You know how sanitary their conditions are! We should be staying home in nice clean Japan until he or she's at least four years old, or at least leave him with his grandparents. We should not be going over there while you're pregnant, let alone with an infant! Come on Angel, it's common sence. We'll be there for close to ten months, and you're five months along already. If we go to Egypt the baby will be born there, and there's all kinds of diseases he won't have immunity to!"

Angeline pulled her head up and huffed at him, her face flushed partially from anger and partially from morning sickness. Usually nausea went away after the first three or so months, but she was still experiencing it occationally. "Shen, sweetie,"

Shen gulped. Angeline never called him "sweetie".

"First of all, why are you calling her a him? I know we agreed not to find out the sex of this baby until it was born, but there's no reason to call her he." Shen started to say something, but thought better of it and let Angeline continue. "Second, Egyptian babies seem to survive pretty well, so I'm sure ours will be fine. If she grows up Egyptian, she grows up Egyptian. So what?

"Third, I've written back and forth with Isis Ishtar several times after we met at that convention several months ago, and she's a very experienced midwife. I knew I'd be in Egypt when our baby was born, and Isis agreed to come out to whatever dig we were at at the time and help me deliver the baby. We just didn't know we'd be at the same dig."

She chuckled a little at the look on her husband's face. Standing up, her nausea passed, she slung a duffle bag over her shoulder. "And fourth, who in their right mind would pass up an opportunity to meet Pegasus Crawford, let alone work closely with such legends as Sugoroku Motou and Arthur Hawkins? Not me. We are going to Egypt Shen."

Shen sighed, giving in, and picked up his own bags. He was a first-time father, but he was learning already not to mess with pregnant women.


"Are you coming or not?!"

Arthur glanced up from the magizine he was reading and did a double take. He and Sugoroku were already in their seats in the first class section of the plane, which was scheduled to take off in about half an hour. Sugoroku was asleep beside him, having spent most of last night up with his son and daughter-in-law and his new grandson, little Yuugi Motou. Blinking again, Arthur nudged his friend in the ribs. "Sugoroku? Wake up, pregnant archaeologist at ten o'clock!"

Indeed, Angeline Bakura was standing at the door with a duffle bag over one shoulder, glaring down the corridor as her husband huffed and puffed under the weight of all the rest of their carry-on luggage. When Shen finally caught up with her, they looked around for their seats, and saw they were just across the isle from Arthur and Sugoroku, although at the moment they paid the two older men no attention. Angeline plopped right down into her seat while Shen struggled to stow their bags in the overhead compartment.

Chuckling quietly, Arthur got up to help him. "There you go."

"Thank you," Shen said, pushing his glasses back up on his nose and smiling sheepishly. "We're going to be in Egypt for almost a year, so we had a lot of stuff to bring."

"We can sympathize." Sugoroku chuckled, leaning around Arthur to shake Shen's hand. "I'm Sugoroku Motou, and this is my good friend Arthur Hawkins. I believe we'll be working together?"

Shen looked surprised. "Yes, I suppose we will. I'm sorry for not recognizing you. My name is Shen Bakura, and this is my wife Angeline."

"Hi," Angeline said as Shen took his seat beside her. "Sorry for not rising to greet you..."

"Oh no," Arthur hurried to assure her. "It's quite all right. But I must say I'm surprised you're coming along. When is the baby due?"

"October," Shen said with a smile, putting an arm around Angeline. "You have a lot of sense Hawkins-san. I tried to talk Angeline out of coming along, but..." he shrugged helplessly, as if to say 'women!'

"Humph," Angeline snorted. "I will not be cheated out of going back to Egypt by something as little as a baby." The men sweatdropped at her and she frowned at them all. "And that is my final word on the subject."

After that Shen quickly steered the conversation to safer topics. "I mean to ask Pegasus why he's bringing us all out here in June. July and August are the very hottest months in Egypt! Angel and I always do our excavations in the winter, when it's much cooler."

"Although it never does get trully 'cool' in Egypt," Arthur said.

"Maybe he really doesn't know?" Sugoroku suggested. "Has he been to Egypt before?"

No one knew the answer to that, and Shen was just about to declare that they would have to ask Pegasus when the plane began to taxi for take-off. Angeline squeaked and shut her eyes as she began to get nauseous again. Arthur and Sugoroku made noices of concern, but Shen simply sighed and handed his wife a plastic bag from the back of the seat in front of him.

And so began the trip that would change their lives forever. For they were not just going to stay there ten months and dig up meaningless artifacts. Oh no, the fates had much bigger plans in mind. Plans that would shape the destiny of the world, and it all centered around Sugoroku's little grandson, the baby in Angeline's belly, and the brother of the archaeologist Isis Ishtar.

But then again, you knew that, didn't you?


WSJ: ^^ And so ends chapter 1. Like? Should I continue it, or drop it to work on my other fics. ;;¬¬ I know, I need to work on Home Sweet Home, but I have about TEN TONS of writers block for that at the moment... *sigh* Until next chapter!

God bless minna-san!