Horizon's doorways

***

Warnings/notes : Pseudo-Ancient Egyptian AU, Seto/Joey, Yami/Yugi, Bakura/Malik/Ryou, Pegasus, slightly silly/ooc.

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. [see also chapter 1]

written at 17th january 2003, by Misura

Thanks to the people who reviewed the second chapter :

To Romennar : Yup. And in this chapter, people poke at him even more. ^^; Thank you!

To RaineKitsune : I updated, as you can see. : ) Thank you!

To DarkShadowFlame : Hope you had a good flight, then. And thank you! : )

To TigerZahn : Thank you very much. : )

To Hush Puppie : Me and short chapters are like Seto and Joey ; I can't help it. ^^; Thank you!

To Suppis Tenshi : I actually *have* a poem now. It's … really bad, but then again, it *is* supposed to be by Bakura. -_-; Thank you very much! ^_^

To Kaira-chan : Yes, poor Yugi should mind his money better. The thief was actually Malik (Jounouchi stealing from Yugi? Awww! I'd never let him do that!). Thank you very much! : )

To Swoot : Thank you! : )

To Temptress Nagisa : Because I was feeling sadistic? -_-; Actually, I just ran out of inspiration, sorry. Thank you. : )

To Shousetsuka1 : Patience is a virtue indeed. Thank you very much for having it! : )

To Windswift Shinju : ^_^ Thank you very much!

Yami *bounces around the room* : She likes me! Yes! ^_^

Malik : What do you take me for? *Of course* Yugi doesn't have any coins left after I robbed him! I'm a professional!

Seto : I am feeling … unrespected. That mutt probably senses I'm about to develop a crush on him. -_- Bad Seto! Must. Not. Ogle. Jounouchi! I don't need love!

To Kiawna : You're right! : ) And Yami added 'love' to Seto's wishlist. ^_^;

To Alithiel and Arlyssa : Thank you! I will! ^_^

To Dark Mysteries : Thank you, I did. : )

**********

As the sun slowly began to set, people all through Thebes gathered on the squares of the temples, to have their wish-tablets placed on the piles that would be lit when the last traces of sunlight had vanished from the heavens. It was a strange sensation to see the temples that were usually rather tranquil and quiet all crowded now.

There was no real obligation to stay and watch the bonfires after having delivered one's tablet - in fact even writing the tablet wasn't required, though it was considered to bring bad luck if one didn't. Nevertheless, Ryou found himself sticking around, chatting with some people who only knew him because of his father. They were only acquaintances though, so they hadn't received any kind of news from him, aside from the general expedition-reports.

Ryou found himself enjoying having someone to talk to about his father, someone who understood what he was talking about when he used scientific terms. A rational part of his mind pointed out that he was simply enjoying the attention, the value these men seemed to place on his words, but he firmly told himself he was merely helping out some friends of his father's.

Besides, it wasn't as if he had any pressing need to go back home. He had no friends that would drop by for a more private celebration of Wishing Night. He knew he might be welcome in the houses of some of his father's colleagues, yet they would most probably just feel sorry for him. Ryou hated it when people acted all condescending towards him, like he was some poor orphan.

" ... in fact, wouldn't you like to spend the festival with me and my family? I have a son of about your age. I'm sure the two of you would get along quite well."

Ryou smiled brightly. "Thank you, but I'll be fine on my own."

The man - he had introduced himself to Ryou, only the name had slipped his mind for the moment - frowned, apparently not happy with Ryou's refusal to play the receiver of his charity. At least, Ryou couldn't think of any other reason for the man's disappointment. It wasn't as if his company was *that* interesting after all.

"But it wouldn't be a bother at all. Please. My wife would be delighted to have another guest. Especially the son of such a good friend."

Ryou managed not to snort. The man's claim was downright ridiculous. Ryou knew all of his father's friends by name and face. The situation was beginning to embarrass him a little, especially with the way some people were looking in his direction as the man had raised his voice in his excitement.

"I am sorry, but I have obligations elsewhere." Ryou managed to keep his voice studiously polite, though he was beginning to get a little annoyed.

"But - " the man began, placing a hand on Ryou's arm as if to keep him from departing before he had agreed. A new voice interrupted him, while the hand was forcefully removed.

"He said no, you creep, so take a hint and leave him alone!"

*****

"Everything is going just perfect." Bakura grinned, watching how the two men engaged the white-haired youth in a conversation. He had known aforehand which temple his intended lover would visit, since there weren't that many temples in Thebes, in spite of it being the capital. Several of the larger temples were reserved for nobles though, meaning the number of places for common people to go was fairly limited.

Setting up a meeting with two unpleasant individuals, so that Bakura might play savior had been ridiculously easy. Even Malik had had to admit -grumblingly- that this plan was pretty much fool-proof.

At the moment one of the two actually dared to touch the boy, Bakura intervened. A bit earlier than he had originally planned with Malik, who was waiting outside, but then again, it wasn't as if there was any risk of this situation getting really messy or violent. Not in a temple and definitely not in the middle of a crowd gathered to celebrate a festival of light and happiness.

The man threw him a glare that promised retribution - not that it bothered Bakura in any way. Then he backed off, cradling his hand against his chest as if Bakura had severely injured it rather than merely brushing it away. Bakura threw him a quick grin, just to let the guy know his glare wouldn't even impress a headless chicken, let alone the ferocious, self-proclaimed prince of thieves.

"Are you all right?" he asked, putting his hand on much the same place as the man he had just chased away. Other than him though, Bakura had the right to do that.

*****

Seto stared expressionlessly at the burning bonfire on which the tablet with his wish for this year was slowly being burnt to ashes, while its inscription would use the smoke to travel upwards, to where the gods supposedly dwelled. At least, that's what he tried to do.

There was a bit of a draft on the square of the temple, which caused the smoke to be blown directly in his face, making his eyes itch and tear in spite of his attempts to keep them clear. Even if the reaction was only natural, Seto refused to show what he considered to be a weakness in front of his colleagues. Or his Pharaoh, for that matter, who had already humiliated him by turning his dignified wish-formula into some silly, romantic piece of nonsense.

"Are you all right?" Yami inquired, walking over as soon as Pegasus had declared the ceremony to be over. Apparently he had seen Seto's trouble even from where he had been standing, on the other end of the square. Seto fervently hoped it was just due to Yami's sharp eyes. The thought that *everyone* had seen how the Highpriest couldn't even stand a bit of smoke was not a pleasant one.

"I'm fine," Seto replied sourly, in a tone that added 'and very busy, so I'd appreciate it if you left me alone now'. Besides, didn't Yami have work to do as well? Especially considering he wouldn't have any time to spare tomorrow, Yami ought to be much too buried in work to bother Seto.

"You look a bit ... emotional," Yami stated, in that annoyingly clear voice of his that made people turn their heads and stare. Seto gritted his teeth, silently ordering his eyes to stop behaving so unorderly and become clear again. Without much success.

"I'm fine," Seto repeated. 'And not suffering from any 'emotional-ness',' he wanted to snap, but he managed not to. Instead he settled for a more diplomatic : "But I still have some work left to do before tomorrow," hoping that Yami would get the hint.

"Oh." Which didn't seem to be the case right away. "Well, if you ever want to talk, you know where my office is, don't you?" Yami gave him a curt nod, before stalking off almost angrily. Seto wondered what on earth Yami had been referring to.

As a particular biting wisp of smoke drifted his way, his eyes went teary anew, prompting him to quickly retreat into a corridor to head back for the safety of his own quarters. His sight was still rather blurred though, meaning he didn't really notice much of his environment. Meaning he didn't notice the last person he wanted to see at the moment until that person was right in front of him.

"S-seto? What's wrong? Are you ... crying?" Jounouchi asked, staring at him wide-eyed.

~continuation probable, but possibly it'll be a while ^^; ~