Author's Notes: Talk about something that got out of hand... This whole undertaking was inspired by one song and one doodle. I was listening to Anggun - Snow on the Sahara, hence the title, and I started doodling Tomb Robber Bakura. On a whim, I drew Ryou in Egyptian clothing, and this idea for an alternate universe story hit me like a ton of bricks. This story might contain some spoilers about the Ancient Egypt arc of YGO, but I'm not going to delve into anything about the pharaoh or priests, or even the millennium items really.

I've done a lot of research for this story, and to be honest, I'm going to be more worried about being somewhat historically accurate rather than canonically accurate - since I can find out a lot more about Ancient Egypt than I can the Ancient Egypt arc of the YGO manga. However, I'm setting this early in Bakura's life, before he was such an accomplished tomb-robber and, erm, friendly with the pharaoh and his priests. For the purposes of this story, I'm guessing that he didn't even find out why his entire village was slaughtered or about the millennium items until later. This might be why he seems a little out of character - I'm making him about 14 or 15 in this story, an adult by Egyptian culture, but ultimately still a kid, presumably not as embittered and entrenched in the occult and battling the pharaoh as he is later on.

Yes, this is shonen-ai. However, Ryou will be referred to as a girl for most of it, since that's what Bakura thinks he is, and Bakura's POV is the one the story follows.

Bibliography - For information about the Ancient Egypt arc of the manga, and general inspiration - For information about daily life in Egypt - For the Egyptian names
The Encyclopedia of the Ancient World - edited by various
Ancient Egypt - General editor David P. Silverman

Crappy Fanart - Bakura and Ryou on the shore - Teenage Bakura - Bakura's Set mask (From Ch.8) - He's Not Happy (From Ch.13)

Stuff I listened to while writing that help me set the mood
The Prince of Egypt Soundtrack
Adiemus - Greatest Hits
Enigma - Voyageur
Various Arcana songs
Various ethnic music I found on Kazaa
And of course, the song Anggun - Snow on the Sahara.

Disclaimer: I don't own YGO, but history is copyright free, so. *happily borrows* Just a warning, this story has made a lot of people cry, so, um, you might want to get the tissues ready. I don't think it has a sad ending, but. o_o;


Bakura already felt as though he'd been running forever, and the desert only seemed to get more expansive with every step he took.

He choked out a breathless curse as he stumbled over a small rock, getting tangled in his cloak. Hurriedly, he tried to regain his former pace, glancing over his shoulder at his pursuers.

The shopkeeper and his assistants were still in furious pursuit, and they seemed far more fit and fed than their quarry. It was just his luck he should decide to steal from a merchant with not only exceptional endurance, but three sons who were at least a head taller than the albino thief.

He was already exhausted from hunger, and it took all of his will and strength to keep running over the unstable sand, to keep running through searing blasts of wind as the sinking sun bore down on his sensitive skin. He scrambled over a sand dune as quickly as he could, and cursed the sun, the merchant, and most of all, his own carelessness.

He didn't have to steal the bread. Hidden in his coat were a few necklaces and anklets he had procured earlier - he could have easily traded one of them and gotten five loafs - but the merchant had been busy chatting it up with the attractive wife of a local farmer, not minding his wares. Bakura had been starving, the bread was well within his reach, and the merchant seemed oblivious...

Unfortunately, the merchant's sons weren't quite as negligent and had quickly given pursuit, and with the way they had chased him out of the village and straight into the desert, one would think he had stolen the gold of the Pharaoh himself. They probably would have given up earlier, but they saw his unnatural white hair, and suddenly what had been only a thieving boy became a demon in their eyes.

Bakura wished he was a demon. Maybe then, his lungs wouldn't be burning, his legs wouldn't be aching, his skin wouldn't be burnt, his muscles wouldn't be screaming at him, the heat and lack of food wouldn't be making him dizzy, his pursuers wouldn't be gaining on him...

And maybe he wouldn't have just run out of ground.

He skidded to a halt, gasping raggedly for air and staring down at the sudden drop. His desperate running had lead him straight up a hill, and though the hill wasn't too tall, the wall was sheer and rocky, impossible to climb down.

Bakura whirled around to face the men chasing him. If he was cornered, then at least he'd go down fighting. He reached into his coat to pull out his dagger -

But a cracking sound and sharp, stinging pain to his arm caused him to recoil. He hissed in agony, and only had a brief moment to register the fact that one of his attackers had a whip, before the men were upon him and a fist connected to his face.

The albino boy was already half-defeated by hunger and heat by the time they caught him, and quickly collapsed as the beating commenced. His face was forced into the dirt, and he felt a heavy foot step on the back of his neck, effectively pinning him. In one rough motion, his cloak was jerked downwards, his ruffled sleeves trapping his arms to his sides. As the hot wind hissed across his exposed back, the thief steeled himself. He knew what was coming next -


Bakura didn't cry out - he refused to give his attackers that pleasure, even if it meant biting his lip until it bled, even if he had to muffle himself by burying his face in the hot, rocky ground. His body jerked violently with every slicing blow of the whip, and tears where in his eyes - but he was silent, even as blood filled his mouth and danced along his back, crimson flecks scattered on the nearby sand.

He couldn't stop himself from screaming, though, as he felt his broken body being lifted up by the nape of his cloak, and tossed off the rocky cliff like a sack of grain.

As he fell, as the air rushed through his hair and cloak, as the rocks at the bottom of the drop quickly rose to greet him like the gaping maw of an eager crocodile, he could think of nothing but his memories. Memories of his parents, his friends, laughing, eating, crying, begging, screaming, bleeding, the pharaoh's foot soldiers slaughtering them like sheep...

He snarled into the rushing wind.

The thief hit the ground, and there was an explosion of red pain. Blackness crept over his conscious, but before the shadows consumed him entirely, he made a promise.

I won't die yet.