Head over feet

Warnings/notes : Yami Yugi/Yami Bakura, flashbacks from a pseudo Ancient Egyptian AU, this chapter's manga-based

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. The song 'Head over feet' belongs to Alanis Morissette. Slight changes have been made to the text ('a princess' was replaced by 'so precious' ^^;).

written at 1st november 2003, by Misura

For Escuro de la Lus, hoping it's at least a little like what you wanted. ^^;

[!] Note : time shifts between song-fragments, varying from a few days to a month, bits of bad language

A very big 'thank you!' to all people who took the time to review the previous chapter. I hope you'll enjoy this last one as well.

**********

"In your heart, you're no better than me." Bakura accused. "You always act so superior, but we're the same."

"No." Yami retorted simply, grabbing the other's wrist when Bakura tried to turn away. "We are different, both then and now."

~~~~~~

//You're my best friend

Best friend with benefits//

He had meant to make time for Bakura, to find a moment to spare for the young thief. But time slipped through his fingers like sand.

It had been six months since their last meeting now, a meeting made possible only by Bakura's insane recklessness in sneaking into the palace, into the quarters that were guarded more closely than any others. Yami had forbidden him to do it again three times.

"Third time's the charm, I guess." he mumbled, sighing and staring morosely at the documents in front of him. Mahado made a soft, inquiring noise, to which he didn't respond.

"Several Highpriests have reported some strange presence in the Shadow Realm now, your highness." Mahado remarked, handing Yami a set of tablets. "They are getting worried."

"Why? I thought the Shadow Realm was mostly unexplored and mysterious, something nobody knows much about because entering it is extremely dangerous for mortals." Yami inquired. Bakura had asked him hundreds of questions about it, most of which he hadn't been able to answer.

Yami sighed again. It seemed everything was beginning to remind him of Bakura.

"This is true." Mahado acknowledged. "Nonetheless ... in combination with the Sennen Ring starting to glow again at set intervals. The notes of my predecessor clearly state such is not a good omen."

//What took me so long?//

Bakura wondered why he had heeded Yami's command this time, why he had stayed away this past half year. It was as if something was holding him back, something that whispered in the back of his head that he didn't need Yami, had never needed Yami.

That he had gotten all he wanted from Yami. Knowledge. The key to power.

Power to change the world, if only he dared to wield it. He wouldn't be able to change the past, but he would be able to make sure it wouldn't repeat itself.

It would mean having to face Yami. His lover. Not ex-lover, like the voice tried to convince him, not someone he had used, nor someone who had used him.

And yet ...

Yami had never contacted him, always leaving it up to Bakura to drop by for a visit, which never lasted too long because of Yami's other obligations.

Yami had never told him he loved him. Not once. Maybe the voice was right after all ... Maybe he *had* been a fool to believe that the Pharaoh could love a simple thief.

//I've never felt

This healthy before//

Yami stared at the faceless figure in front of him. It -he- was dressed in dark-purple robes of a design unknown to him. A distant part of his mind realized he was dreaming, that he wasn't really participating in the Shadow Games.

Somehow though, this picture, of the mysterious, rather human-shaped 'monster' felt right. There was something very familiar about the way it was standing there, facing him without eyes or lips.

He knew he had seen it -him- before somewhere ... not in a dream.

Cautiously taking a step forwards, he tried to see through the white mask that hid the figure's features from his sight. Perhaps it would allow him to remove it ...

"Yami! Your highness! Please wake up!" Mist whirled around the figure now, while Yami was pulled back to the waking world, desperately stretching out his hand.

"Who are you?" he cried out. "Who?"

Ruby eyes shot open, to see his chief magician regard him with a worried expression on his face.

"I am Mahado, your highness. As you should know." For a brief moment, Mahado's white robes seemed to change color, to a deep purple. Then Yami blinked and everything was back to normal."And it is time for the ritual in honor of Ptah to be performed."

//I've never wanted

Something rational//

Bakura smirked. None of the priests was able to stand against him, to do anything more than brush his monster's defenses, like feathers blown away by a sandstorm. If it hadn't been for Yami and the young man in white robes next to him, Bakura wouldn't have hesitated to kill all of them.

It would be so simple, really. Too simple. He didn't want Yami to die just yet after all.

A flash of gold around the priest's neck - might this be Mahado, of whom Yami had spoken to him with a mix of fondness and annoyance, his teacher? - drew his eyes to the thing that could only be the Sennen Ring. In his hands, he could use it to gain absolute power, to find all other Sennen Items and bind them to himself, rather than the weaklings who were too scared to use them to their full potential.

For a moment his smirk faded. Absolute power ... was that what he wanted? More than ... Yami?

Of course, he couldn't have Yami. Not really. Only through power, as an equal rather than a mere toy, might he gain *that* wish. Yes. If he'd defeat Yami, no one would be able to deny him his place, which was next to Yami.

A thin voice in the back of his head wailed this wasn't right, that he was doing the wrong thing. That Yami hadn't meant to ignore him, perhaps, that he ought to give him another chance before ... before ...

The shriek of his monster was the only warning Bakura received from Mahado, on whose chest the Sennen Ring glowed in an eerie light.

//I am aware now

I am aware now//

"Don't." Yami whispered, putting his hand on Mahado's arm in a restraining gesture. "I can - "

"No." Mahado shook his head, a gentle smile gracing his face. "The two of you are bonded. This, I can sense, even if I don't know how. But he has to be stopped. The Shadow Magic is consuming him from the inside, twisting his sanity."

"This is all my fault." Yami murmured, not letting go. "I - "

"You're the Pharaoh, but you're not omniscient." Mahado snorted, a spark of amusement in his eyes. "Don't blame yourself so eagerly. All of us should have paid more attention, should have sought for the source of the disturbances we sensed. You're still young ; you lack the experience necessary to deal with this kind of things."

"You don't understand." Yami protested.

"Perhaps I do. Perhaps I know what caused the sheets of the royal bed to be rumpled three months ago." Mahado's smile turned sad. "Perhaps I should have asked you about it, rather than - "

"- assume I knew what I was doing?" Yami asked bitterly.

"Rather than preferring to ignore it." Mahado looked like he wanted to add something, but one of the other priests' monster went down, leaving a wide gap in the protective shield surrounding the throne.

//You've already won me over

In spite of me//

Yami stared at Bakura, noting the slight changes in the soul behind those dark brown eyes. They had darkened, from a light brown to a color close to black.

Bakura stared at Yami, wondering what had happened to the cheerful young prince who had sneaked out of the palace to meet him and complain about protocol.

Yami raised his hand, touching the Sennen Puzzle and summoning the power necessary to open a portal to the Shadow Realm. He closed his eyes then, banishing all thoughts of Bakura from his mind.

He would defeat this intruder, as was his duty. Nothing else mattered.

Mahado felt the magic of the Sennen Ring pull at his soul, trying to capture it, cut the last ties with his body that was injured as well as exhausted. He resisted it, trembling fingers undoing the knots of the necklace that seemed to be trying to strangle him.

With a snarl, he threw it away, too tired to care where it landed. He heard several people gasp, in shock or in fear, he didn't know. Opening his eyes, he saw Bakura pick up the Sennen Item he had tossed away so carelessly.

Yami was oblivious to it, still trying to summon some sort of monster.

//Don't be alarmed if I fall

Head over feet//

~~~~~~

"You never meant to have your spirit live through all these centuries, to return to this plane when someone who was like you in both looks and mind got to wear the Sennen Ring." Yami stated.

"And you did?" Bakura demanded, his eyes flashing in a way that would have anyone but Ryou seriously worried for their safety.

"Yes." Yami replied coolly. "Ishizu told me how long it would be before something like that would happen, and she also told me you would awake about the same time."

Bakura blinked, for a moment dropping his mask of cold arrogance.

//Don't be surprised if I love you

For all that you are//

"So, you wish to claim you did it all for *me*?" Bakura laughed sharply. "Am I truly expected to believe you locked your soul away in the Puzzle just because some crazy woman told you you *might* see me again some day that way?"

"I definitely didn't do it for the pleasure of seeing Seto again." Yami snapped annoyedly.

Bakura studied him, a pensive and sly expression on his face. "I assume that *was* a face you'd hoped never to see again, yes." he admitted reluctantly. "Still, I don't love you. You don't love me."

"That's not what you promised." Yami reminded him.

"Fourteen-year olds don't know anything about the impossibility of an eternal love." Bakura riposted.

"And yet, here we are, fighting like children even younger than that." Yami smiled for the first time in their conversation. "Maybe we haven't changed that much after all."

"You're still too much of a brooding type." Bakura grinned, stepping forwards, challenging Yami to either step back or meet him.

"You stil don't have any respect." Yami replied, managing to look down on Bakura in spite of their heights being about the same.

"So, when are you going to shut me up and kiss me, after which we skip off to somewhere to renew our acquaintance properly?" Bakura inquired.

"I was about to ask the same." Yami sighed, the hint of a pout on his lips.

"Well then, *ex*-Pharaoh, my hikari's place, or yours?" Bakura smirked.

//I couldn't help it

It's all your fault//

~OWARI~

A/N : That was ... really weird and ooc. Sorry. I *tried*.