Oooooooo…I like this idea! ^_^ Finally! A Yu-Gi-Oh idea I can actually write! Yea yea yea…This'll be very interesting. Inspired when I went looking at the fics for the first time, and stumbled upon a telling of Y. Bakura's past…I started thinking of all the things I would have done different, added all the detail I crave and it evolved into this! Something completely strange and a bit depressing…but still sweet. Kinda like a burnt cookie.
There's one story I found that had a major influence on this, particularly at the beginning. If you're the person who wrote that story, and you recognize it, just know that I LOVED your fic, and it was what really inspired me to do this one!!
Just to clarify, this is NOT a Yaoi story in any way whatsoever. I actually enjoy the Bakura/Ryou pairing, but this story was never meant to be a Yaoi. It's a friendship fic, with love, but the brotherly kind, not the romantic. ^_^ I hope you like it anyway.
Disclaimer:I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh, Bakura-sama, Ryou-chan, Yugi, Yami or any of the other characters that pop up along the way. Please remember to review! (If anyone can think of a better title, I'll change it)
Stories of the Past
Chapter 1: An Ancient Friendship
"What?" the spirit snapped, then dropped his voice lower. Ryou was looking up at him, dressed in pajamas and sitting in his bed, originally reading the book now closed in his lap.
Ryou dropped his eyes down. He wasn't afraid that his Yami was going to hit him again, not really, he'd stopped doing that months and months ago. But he was a bit hesitant, afraid to hurt his feelings.
"I…I was just wondering…" he muttered shakily, not quite making eye contact. "Why it is you want the Millennium Items so badly…"
Bakura blinked at his Hikari, then glanced away. He understood why his Aibou would ask, but…but could he really tell him the truth…?
"I'm sorry." Ryou said quickly. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to."
"…It's alright." Bakura's eyes had taken on an extremely gentle look, and his voice was in a soft tone. Ryou stared at him as he came and sat next to him on the bed. He'd never done anything like this before.
"I could tell you the story, if you like." the Spirit said quietly.
"…What story?" Ryou set his book on the bedside table, pulling the covers a bit to move closer to his other half.
"My life, naturally." he sighed, leaning back against the wall. It would take a long, long time to explain it all. "You'd have to hear the whole thing to understand any of it at all."
"Alright then." Ryou pulled a pillow over, resting his head on it and leaning next to Bakura. "I'm ready."
The spirit hesitated a moment, trying to find where to begin, then he sighed. "Well…I suppose you know I lived in ancient Egypt, as did…Yugi's Yami…" his eyes clouded a moment, then he started again. "Originally, my name was Bahaku…"
~ * ~ * ~
…It meant 'rare treasure' in Egyptian, but I honestly wasn't worth much of anything. I was born to the equivalent of a peasant, above slaves but not high enough to own any or even think about owning any. I lived in a tiny village just outside of the capitol, in a clay house, and my father worked the wheat fields for our food and income.
The reason was, when I was born, my parents were unsure wither I was a demon or a god-sent, though they soon decided on the later. They were both like most of the people in the country, dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin. But I was not dark. I was pale, with fair skin, and hair so light it was practically colorless. I looked like a foreigner. The only thing 'normal' about me was the color of my eyes, the same dark, chocolate brown of my mother.
Despite my oddities, we were happy. It wasn't luxury, but it was life and we had each other, and that was all I needed at the time.
But then, my father was called into a war to defend the country, and was killed in battle. I was eight years old when the men came to my mother, demanding she pay back a supposed debt my father had left…
"Look, you damn woman!" the leader of the small group growled, backing my mother into a corner. "You're still two hundred setna'kts short of your debt, and if you don't pay…"
"But we have nothing left!" she cried, eyes starting to water. "You've taken our food, our cloth, everything we own…isn't it enough?!"
I peaked out from my hiding place, frightened. I was crouched behind a tattered, ratty cloth inside a small hideaway in the wall. It was only the size for a small child, which I was, watching my mother as she faced down the men who had forced their way into our home.
The leader raised his hand and struck the woman across the face. My blood boiled and I struck out in rage, diving out of my nook. "Leave Mommy 'lone!"
The man looked down at me, a bit surprised at the small, scrawny, pale-haired eight-year-old pounding wildly at the back of his knees. My mother stared at me in horror. "Bahaku…"
"Well, well, well…" the man bent down and grasped me by the hair, pulling me off my leg. "This little runt should be worth at least two hundred setna'kts in the slave trade, don't you think?"
"No!" my mother cried, grabbing me up in a protective embrace. "Leave my Bahaku alone!"
"Now I'm sure of it." the man grinned at me, sending shivers down my spine, and his two companions began to converge on us. "Such a rare find will be worth well over two hundred setna'kts. Boys?"
The two dove in, beginning to violently tear me from my mother's arms. She screamed at the top of her lungs and I clung to her, grasping her robes even as the men grabbed my arms and legs.
"Bahaku! No, no, Bahaku!" my mother screamed, thrashing against the two men holding her. Their leader had me around the waist, easily pulling me away from everything I'd known. "Bahaku, my baby! My baby!"
"Mommy!" I fought him, hitting and kicking and screaming for my mother. The man got tired of my fighting and threw me on the ground, striking me over the head so hard I was knocked out.
And I never got see what happened to my mother.
~ * ~ * ~
By the time I came to, I had already been sold to a slave trader in the city. It was just as the attacker had said, a pale slave was such a rare find that I was practically an exotic pet.
I was certainly treated like one. The older slaves were chained by ankle and wrist in a line every day, but the shackles were much too large for me, so they collared me like a dog.
They fed us, yes, but not enough to be truly sustained, and mine was stolen from me by the larger, more powerful men. By day I was paraded in the line of slaves for sale, and by night curled up all by myself, sobbing, in a corner.
About a week after my kidnapping, the marketplace rumbled with whispers. "The Pharaoh is coming!" they said to each other in hushed voices. "Straighten up, look your best, here he comes!"
I don't know if I realized who the Pharaoh was at that point. I was too scared and upset to notice anything. But even I noticed that the man coming down the row, flanked by two guards, was obviously highly respected. His hair was a dark red-violet, spiked slightly, and his eyes were also a dark violet. He wore clean, white linen like all the other slave-owners, but his was lined with gold and purple cloth. Around his neck was a thick, gold pendent, shaped like an upside-down pyramid and inscribed with the Eye of Horus.
As he passed by the other slaves, they straightened themselves to display mussels or other various strengths. I didn't bother. He was looking for workers, laborers…not a little kid. Little kids either became cup-bearers, trained for something useful, or human sacrifices.
Every now and then he'd stop a moment, examine a certain man, ask him some questions, and either nod or shake his head. The ones he nodded on were pulled out of the line and grouped off to one side.
I was almost at the very end, between two large teenage boys. I was shaking from my own fears, but I couldn't cry or the slavemaster would beat me, so I had to bite my lip. The man passed me by at first, not seeing me, but then he stopped and turned back.
The two on either side of me straightened, expecting to be examined. But the man knelt down and reached to pull me closer to him by the shoulder. I couldn't believe he was even looking at me. Me. A scrawny little runt with dirt smeared in my face and hair, shaking like a rattle, dressed in nothing but a tattered brown cloth.
The man grabbed me by the chin, making me look up, into his eyes. He looked calculating, judging my worth, studying me carefully. He rubbed a bit of dirt off my cheek, looked a moment, then took a tuff of my hair and ran it through his fingers like he was uncertain that it was truly my natural color.
As soon as he'd assured himself that the salesman had done nothing to change my appearance, he looked me in the eye. I cringed back instinctively, usually when people around here looked you in the eye it was not a good thing.
"Can you speak?" he asked quietly.
I gulped, then did it again before stuttering "Y-Y-Yes, sir."
He looked at me again, judging my arms and legs, both of which were more like sticks than limbs. "Do you know any games?"
I blinked. That was a strange question to ask…But I gulped and answered again. "Y-Yes, sir…I do."
He smiled. "Very well, then." he stood, glancing at the slavemaster. "This one, too. The boy."
The slavemaster did a double-take. "The…The boy, your majesty?"
"Yes." The man glared. "Is there a problem?"
"N-No, sir!" the slavemaster hurried over, unlocking my collar from the chain holding us all together. The two boys I was in-between glared at me, hands clutching into fists under their shackles.
I was lead over to the front of the group, where I got a lot of strange looks from the congregated men. The man buying looked over us a moment, then nodded. "Alright then, I think that's enough." he turned to one of the accompanied. "Pay the man, and let's get this lot back to the palace."
~ * ~ * ~
It took us fifteen minutes of tracking through the city to get to the Pharaoh's palace. It took up most of this half of the town as it was, or at least it seamed too, surrounded by temples of the same white alabaster. If it wasn't for the fact that we were all chained together, I would've gotten lost.
When we got there, everything happened very quickly. I vaguely remember starting to go with the other slaves to a dark-looking side-room, but two of the guards caught me by the shoulders and undid my collar, pulling me apart and in front of the man who'd purchased us…The Pharaoh himself.
He looked me up and down again, then nodded in the opposite direction. "Get him cleaned up." he ordered. "Completely washed, and dressed in fresh clothes. Then send him to Prince Yanami's room. Report to me when he's ready. Understand?"
"Yes sir." the two guards bowed, then pulled me down the corridor he'd indicated.
Being cleaned confused me. It was all in such a rush, I was suddenly in water up to my neck as women my mother's age scrubbed the dirt off my body and poured oils in my hair to clean it, before dunking me under to wash it all off. Then I was re-dressed and quickly ushered into another strange room.
Here they left me alone, giving strict orders to stay right where I was and allowing me a chance to see my new surroundings. The room was large, and roomy, covered in white cloth to keep out the dust. There was a window in the far wall, showing that I was very high up and that this place had a wonderful view of the city. The ceiling was held up with alabaster columns, painted with pastel colors. There were all kinds of fancy, wood-carved furnishings, but the most prominent was a large, dark oaken bed, clothed in soft, white silk.
I glanced down at myself. The brown cloth that had covered me from my waist to my knees was gone, replaced by one of identical length, made of clean, white linen. There was an odd tassel hanging from it, gold and red threads bound together, I didn't know what it meant. On each wrist was a thick cuff, made of solid, polished gold. I looked into a large, polished piece of obsidian on the wall, and saw that I was once again collared, this time with gold, like the cuffs.
I was on my knees in the middle of this room, when the door opened. The Pharaoh stood there, and at his arm was a much smaller figure. A boy.
He was my age, almost to the day, with wide, red-violet eyes and two-toned hair. Most of it was the red-purple of the Pharaoh's, the red especially prominent around the edges, but his bangs were spiky and blonde. He was dressed in the same kind of half-robe as I was, but his was belted by a large fold of gold cloth, and he was wearing sandals. He had four armbands, one on each wrist, and one clasped to each upper arm. He had a two-inch-thick gold necklace hanging loosely around his neck.
He was surprised when he saw me, turning his eyes to the Pharaoh. "Father, who is this? What is he doing here?"
"He's for you." I sniffled a bit. The man was referring to me like an animal, a pet or some kind of toy. "This boy will be your personal servant, Yanami. I picked him out especially for you."
The boy…Yanami…looked me over a moment. His eyes locked with mine a moment and I dropped them to the ground. Then I heard his voice again, calm and gentle, but tingling with excitement. "Thank you, father."
The man gave a slight noise of welcome, then muttered "Don't stay up too late" and exited the room, shutting the door behind him.
I kept my eyes trained on the ground. What was he going to do to me? What was he going to make me do? The thoughts ran through my head over and over, I couldn't make them stop.
Then I felt hands on my shoulders, and I looked up to see him smiling at me. "Hi! I'm Yanami. What's your name?"
I gulped, not sure why I was so nervous now, he looked so friendly. I was scared, but I managed to stuttered out. "Ba…Bahaku."
"Wanna play a game?"
I blinked. It'd been forever since anyone asked me to play a game…not since before my dad died. Yanami hadn't waited for an answer, he had hurried over to a chest that sat at the end of his bed.
He flung it open to reveal dozens of boards and pieces grouped together by games into bags and cases. He looked up. I was still on my knees, watching him "Come on, come on!" he urged, waving me over. I didn't move, so he jumped up and ran over, pulling me to my feet and over to his chest.
"Pick one." he motioned to the games. "I like all of them, so it doesn't matter to me."
I looked in, uncertain. What was he after? Should I pick something I could let him win at? He had so many…a bunch of them were foreign games I'd never seen before, but I recognized a Senet board, Dogs and Jackals, Seega, and a few others. He was smiling at me again, waiting expectantly. I had to choose something.
Finally, I pointed to a Mehen game, the lion and lioness pieces dangling off the serpent-shaped board in a small, brown bag. It was the one I knew best, if he wanted to win I could fake my way into a loss.
His eyes lit up when I pointed to it and he snatched it out eagerly. Before I could blink he had it set up on the floor by his bed, and motioned for me to sit down on the other side.
He took the lion and I willingly played the female counterpart. He took the first turn, and we played for several hours. His eyes lit up when I got ahead of him, and he took it as a challenge to pull ahead of me again. And as it went on, I actually started to enjoy myself for the first time in months.
Something told me I was going to like my new 'master'.
~ * ~ * ~
"Yanami…" Ryou tried the name out on his lips a moment. "You mean…he must be…"
"Yes." Bakura nodded. "He was the boy that would become Yami. At the time I met him, he acted just like Yugi…always so carefree and innocent…he loved games, and we played them all the time. He won sometimes, and I won sometimes, usually about 2-1. Sometimes it was like I was his friend, rather than his slave."
"So…What happened?" Ryou asked, lying on his back and looking up at his older half. "…Did something go wrong?"
"Not just yet…" Bakura sighed. "I was having a few problems coping that first month, though…I would smile and be all nice during the day, weather I was playing a game or doing some real chore…usually washing the floor or helping Yanami get dressed for something…But at night…"
He trailed off a moment, thinking, then sighed. "At night I slept with the other slaves, in a crowded room, on the floor. And I'd think of my mother, out there someone, probably worried to death…I'd start to cry…Someone would get mad, and I'd wind up black and blue, sore for the rest of the night."
"Oh…" Ryou frowned. He'd cried every night, too, after his mother had died. It was a retched feeling, but he'd had his dad and grandmother to help him through.
"Then…" Bakura gazed off. "One night, about five weeks after I came, Yanami and I got into a marathon Senet match until long after the doors had locked…"
~ * ~ * ~
"Yanami…" I muttered, moving my second-to-last piece up a space. It was a futile move, he'd already won by a long shot. "I…I need to be going…I'll never get back in time… they'll lock me out, and I'll have to sleep outside…"
"Don't worry about it." the prince moved his pieces a few spaces, neatly taking one of my two remaining pieces off the board. "I won't let you sleep out in the cold. You can sleep in here tonight."
I stared at him, making a very bad move. The next turn he snatched up my last piece and won the game 16-32. I glanced out the window and sighed. We were the only ones with the lamp still lit, the others had all already gone to bed.
Yanami yawned, putting the Senet board away and shutting both his chest and the door. He slipped the rings off his arms and tried to get a hold of the clasp on his necklace. He couldn't reach it, so I unbuckled it for him.
"Thanks." he smiled, setting it with the armbands and sliding his sandals off. He climbed into bed, still yawning. I lay down and curled up in a ball on the floor.
Yanami leaned over the bed, looking down at me. "What're you doing?"
"…Going to sleep…" I muttered, putting my head in my arms.
"Not down there!" Yanami reached down and grabbed me by the arm. Before I quite realized what was happening, he'd dragged me into his bed, given me a spare pillow and had me covered with half of his blankets and sheets.
"Yanami!" I gasped, trying to scramble down. "I can't be up here!"
"Why not?" he asked, not confused but simply countering me.
"B-Be-Because!" I gulped. "It's against the rules! The captain…Your father said…"
"You don't belong to my father." he smiled warmly, looking greatly amused. "You belong to me, remember? So just get some sleep…We'll play more tomorrow…"
He'd dropped off before he'd finished his sentence. It felt a bit strange, but I snuggled down into the soft sheets, finally falling asleep…only to find those dreams once again…
I struggled against the dark hands, pulling back into the blackness. My mother was so close…so close…I could almost touch her…
"Mama!" I screamed, fighting the person who held me. "Mama, mommy, please don't go! Mommy!"
"Bahaku…Bahaku, wake up!"
I burst out of my dreams with a sob, seeing Yanami leaning over me. He looked worried, and the pillow under my head was sopping wet. Tears were still pouring out of my eyes when I sat up, rubbing them away wildly.
"Bahaku, what's wrong?" Yanami asked worriedly. "Why're you crying?"
I was still trying to wipe them away, but the stupid things kept coming and coming. I just couldn't stop it…I kept seeing her face, calling my name…reaching for me…the door closing…
"I miss my mama." I sniffed, sounding pathetic even to my own ears. "I miss her, I need her, I just…" I burst into tears right then and there. "I want my mommy!!"
Yanami stared at me, shocked and confused. I don't think he'd realized that for him to have his playmate, I had to be taken away from my family. The dream this time was worse than it had been before, I couldn't stop crying harder and harder no matter how much I tried.
"Bahaku…" Yanami whispered, not knowing what to do for me. He just sat there, I don't know how long, and let me sob for my mother. He looked as upset as I was.
The next morning, after he was dressed, I followed Yanami down to the dinning hall. I was always supposed to be right next to him, unless I was doing some other chore, and meals were no exception. I was on the ground, and he sat up at the table, each munching away. Mine was usually stale bread and water, but he had a habit of sneaking me extra yeast rolls, fruits, scraps of meat, sometimes even sweets.
Usually he ate quickly, gave his father a hug when he entered and ran out for more games. But today he ate very slowly, taking his time and stalling as the Pharaoh entered, sitting at the end of the table.
"…Papa?" Yanami began quietly.
The Pharaoh looked up in surprise. The Prince rarely spoke unless he was spoken too, first. "Yes, Yanami?"
I glanced up. Yanami was looking forward, dark purple eyes trained on his father. He looked completely and totally confident and he sighed something I that made my mouth drop open.
"Can you find Bahaku's mother?"