A dark way to glory

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Warnings/notes : pseudo-ancient Egyptian AU, Yami/Mahado, mentionings of Bakura and Seto, death (Mahado's), slightly weird, hints at sex, one-shot.

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. This ficlet is part of 'Feast of the king's shadow', meaning its title is taken from this novel by Chaz Brenchley. This ficlet is loosely based on the manga.

written at 13th october 2003, by Misura

Note : For those that don't know, Mahado is the Dark Magician. Technically that's not entirely correct but ...  I also refer to all characters by their 'modern' names, in part to keep from spoiling and in part to keep from confusing people. ^^;

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He remembered their conversation the night before.

"What's wrong? You seem ... worried." He disliked Mahado not showing his usual, serene mask this night. According to all reports he had read, Bakura would be a dangerous adversary to take on.

He wanted Mahado to be calm, to soothe his own nerves. If Mahado was only going to increase them, he might as well have stayed in the priests' quarters, instead of sneaking through the halls to visit the royal bedroom. It might be selfish, this wish of his, but ...

"It's nothing, my Pharaoh." Mahado blushed, reminding Yami the age difference between them wasn't as big as it felt sometimes.

"You are to call me by my name when in private." He mock-scowled, reaching down to pin Mahado's wrists above the other's hands, rendering him helpless. Mahado struggled for a few moments, just long enough to make for a convincing 'captive'.

"Yami." Mahado smiled, his eyes less clear, less aged by wisdom as he stared up at Yami. "Sorry."

"I demand a recompensation for your offense." Yami stated, feeling the pleasant uplift of his mood. The anticipation that was cruising through his body began to override his bothersome thoughts about tomorrow. "I demand ... a kiss."

"That sounds fair enough." Mahado whispered, lifting his head to brush his lips against Yami's in a kiss that intensified as Yami sunk down on him, his hands releasing Mahado's wrists to wander over his muscled body, bury themselves in Mahado's long, soft hair.

He remembered Ishizu's prediction, that had filled him with hope.

"You will find immortality. You will gain a gift no other mortal has ever been granted and you will be instrumental in saving the world from the Shadows that threaten it." She sounded strange, as if someone else was speaking through her mouth.

Which was true in a way, since the Sennen Tauk was one of the Items that seemed to have the power to compel its owner to take actions and speak words without their own agreement. It was possession, of a kind, but not a malicious one.

At least, according to the ancient texts, the Tauk always released its wearer after it had accomplished what it wanted or delivered its message. The predictions it made in this manner were usually vague.

While Ishizu used the Tauk to *see* the future, which meant both she and the wielder of the Sennen Eye could take a shot at interpreting the images, the Tauk prophesied in a purely verbal way.

"And what will *I* gain?" Seto demanded, breaking the silence. Several other priests frowned at him for daring to speak so insolently against a divine power.

Ishizu laughed. The sound sent chills down Mahado's spine and on the other side of the room he saw Yami looked shaken as well. Seto merely seemed annoyed.

"Death, defeat and humiliation." Ishizu declared. "This is what your future will bring you, Priest Seto. For you hold no peace in your heart nor in your soul, and the god whose name you are wearing will claim you as his tool." Her shrill laugh echoed against the ceiling, rising higher and higher until Mahado put his hands over his ears to drown out the sound.

He remembered the morning before.

"Don't go! Stay here!" It surprised him, to hear these words coming out of Yami's mouth, to see a pleading look in ruby eyes. He had seen Yami cold with anger and hot with passion, and sometimes both at the same time, but never like this.

"It's my duty to be there, as much as yours." He didn't understand Yami's sudden panic. "Besides, I'll be fine, remember? Ishizu predicted so herself. I'll win glory for you today."

"I know. And it's not that *I* have gone cowardly all of a sudden only ... " Yami frowned, apparently as uncomfortable with his emotions as Mahado. " ... I feel like I'll never see you like this again."

"Nonsense." Mahado laughed. "You're just having a bad case of stage-fright, that's all."

Yami shook his head, slowly reaching for his royal garbs. "It's not myself I'm worried about, it's only you. If you died ... " The Pharaoh shivered.

"Immortality." Mahado reminded him of the word Ishizu had used. "That implies I can't die, doesn't it?"

Only now, he knew the answer to his own foolishly ignorant question.

No, one who was immortal could not die. Yet 'not being able to die' was not the same as 'living'. Sighing as the artist brushed away the last specks of dust on the tablet that depicted the Pharaoh's soul-monster, Mahado critically eyed the result. Not too bad ...

It would have to do until the painter whose birth Ishizu had predicted would come along to free him and reunite him with his beloved Pharaoh.

In five thousand years.

Ah well, he could wait. Besides, it wasn't as if he had any other choice, was it?

~ending of this snippet~