Chapter 8: A Meeting of the Ennead

"We have gathered here today to discuss the actions of Pharaoh Yami against Prince Ryou," Ra said solemnly as he stared out over the gods assembled there. Yami shifted nervously on his feet and stared sheepishly back, but Ryou whimpered at the memories it brought up and clung to Bakura's shirt.

The three stood in the middle of the Hall of Neutrality being the obvious focus of the Ennead members who had gathered there. The Hall was the main meeting place of any of the gods in the Upper Realms, unless there was a meeting of the Ennead, like now, and this place had one major rule: absolutely no fighting. If any god started a fight with another in the Hall of Neutrality, he or she would be automatically expelled from the Upper Realms into either the Lower or onto Earth. No exceptions. So far, no one had ever broken that rule. Yet.

The Hall looked a bit different to each different god, according to what he or she had patronage over. For example, Thoth saw the Hall as the perfect magician's laboratory, with bottles of multi-colored potions and spell-covered scrolls littering the tables and bookshelves of similar texts along the walls; the light in the ceiling was like a large full moon. To Seth, the god of chaos and storms, the other gods sat around tables made of clouds, and it was constantly raining and thundering, the only light being provided by the lightning. And for Geb, god of the earth, the Hall was made of earth, like the inside of a mountain, and the tables were small hills.

Bakura and Ryou viewed the Hall in the same way, like a Goth nightclub full of shady characters around the walls, though the other gods looked just like they would normal outside this place of deception, and naturally, they acted the same way too. The members of the Ennead were often split down the middle in their opinions, Isis and Osiris leading one side, Seth and Nut naturally one the other; the other gods spilt according to their own preferences or alliances, and it was a definite split down the middle. Only four gods other than those of the Ennead, the Tetrad of Equality, were allowed to participate and vote in meetings: Horus, Hathor, Anubis and Thoth. And not surprisingly, Anubis, Hathor and Thoth were on Seth's side; Horus went with his parents. There were no doubts about it.

Now, as Ra looked around the hall after his pronouncement, Seth was not the only one frowning disgustedly at Yami; Isis and several of her allies were actually in agreement with him. It was unthinkable, what the god had done to the former angel; no one would have dared to try it in a million years. But Yami had.

"May I ask what happened, Prince Ryou?" Isis asked gently. Ryou frowned at the goddess, who looked very much like her mortal counterpart, and buried his face in Bakura's chest; Isis held up a hand, as Ra was about to say something. "Let him speak."

After a few moments, Ryou's voice rang out, slightly muffled, "He tried to rape me!" Gasped sounded throughout the hall, but Isis commanded silence again and allowed him to continue: "I went to Elysium to ask him about the Ring, but he claimed he didn't know where it is, so I started to leave. But he wouldn't let me leave. He said I had to stay with him for three days and then I could leave 'if I wanted'. And then he...he..." Ryou choked and buried his face further into Bakura's chest, obviously not able to say anything else. Bakura rubbed his back reassuringly, murmuring quietly in his ear, while he glared at Yami, eyes promising endless torture once this was done.

"Pharaoh, do you have anything to say for on your behalf?" Ra asked, turning his gaze back on the lesser god.

Yami nodded and spoke loudly: "Only that I do believe I am at fault, but not that I was responsible for it, your Greatness."

Seth snorted and leaned back in his chair. "Is that what you really think, Pharaoh? That you're at fault, yet not responsible? That's like saying you hit something and it caught on fire, but it's not your fault because you're a bolt of lightning." His gaze drifted over Ryou's shaking form and then back to Ra. "I think he's at fault."

"It was not his place to force anything upon the Prince," Nut agreed, shaking her head. "I agree with Seth."

"Of course you do," Horus muttered. He glared slightly at his grandmother and returned his gaze back to the Mortal Gods. "I'm afraid I'll have to go with Atemu on this one, since we are as one–"

"Oh, stop it with that 'Pharaoh is me and I am Pharaoh' crap, nephew," Seth admonished, shooting daggers in the younger god's direction. "It's obviously clear that you two are nothing alike. He's short with cactus, multi-colored hair, you're short with respectable, straight black hair. Nothing alike."

"Brother, I would ask you not to antagonize anyone more during this meeting," Osiris said sternly.

"Can it, Ahk, you know I won't. And I'm guessing you're for 'Stick-up-my-ass' as well?"

"Seth, if you cannot control yourself, you will have to leave," Ra ordered. Seth pouted mockingly and briefly stuck his tongue out but remained silent. Ra looked back to Bakura and Ryou and frowned slightly. "Is there anything you would like to add, Thief Lord?"

Bakura nodded and hugged Ryou tightly. "First, I would like to know where my Ring is, but I'm sure you can't help me there if even I can't find it. I know Pharaoh's hiding something, but he won't say what. Second, I want revenge for what he did to my hikari–"

"And yet you don't care that he's a vampire now, obviously done against his will," Geb interrupted, grinning smugly. Bakura stared angrily at him and pulled Ryou closer.

"What I do to my hikari is my business. He isn't allowed to touch Ryou, much less molest him." He reverted his gaze back to Ra and continued where he left off. "I want Pharaoh to be punished thoroughly for this. Maybe expulsion for a few hundred years?" He turned his gaze back to Yami as he said, "Maybe by then I'll have cooled down enough that he can come back without there being a physical threat."

"A very much doubt Prince Ryou would want that," Osiris commented.

"Actually, it might take a few hundred more years than that for me to forgive him," Ryou answered, glaring sternly at Yami, "especially if I'm a vampire for the rest of time. And my temper is so much worse than Bakura's, trust me. You'll wish you were never born."

"Calm down, Hikari Love," Bakura whispered quietly. "I can feel your rage radiating off of you."

"Well, why shouldn't I be mad?!" Ryou demanded. He pushed away from Bakura and turned threateningly to Yami, though he was speaking to everyone else. "This...this...whore tried to rape me! He knew the whole time that I hate his guts, and he still made advances on me, knowing perfectly well that I couldn't do a thing in his Realm that might help me defend myself! He wouldn't listen to my protests, he wouldn't listen to my screams, and he wouldn't listen to my attacks! This fucking bastard has to be punished!"

"I agree," Thoth announced suddenly. "I'm voting against Atemu, and it may be a good idea to have him banished."

"Thank you," Bakura and Ryou said simultaneously. Then to Yami, Bakura added, "That's two for, three against, Pharaoh. Better start packing."

"Thief Lord, it is not your place to deal out punishment," Ra spoke up.

"But it is ours, Great One," Isis answered, "and I for one believe the Pharaoh must be punished for this, and that expulsion may be a good idea after all."

"Four," Bakura muttered under his breath.

"I agree, especially since he didn't even ask whether Prince Ryou liked him back," Hathor murmured.

"Does everyone agree that the Pharaoh must suffer?" Shu asked incredulously. "I concur that what Atemu did was wrong, but, by the sound of it, Ryou had been antagonizing him. Perhaps this was well earned."

"You're a loony," Seth said almost inaudibly.

"I cannot vote for the Pharaoh today," Nephthys spoke up. "He does not deserve it in my eyes."

"Great One, perhaps we should vote now," Isis commented quietly.

"Those who vote against the Pharaoh and for his banishment?" Ra ordered. Seven of the god raised their hands, Seth and Isis among them.

"Those who vote for the Pharaoh?" This time, only five of the deities raised their hands, clearly outnumbered by the others. Yami glanced sadly around the Hall at them, then back to Ryou, who was still staring angrily at him.

"Very well," Ra pronounced. "The verdict stands. Yami, you are to be banished from the Realms of the Gods back to Earth for–" here he glanced back at the two white-haired immortals questioningly. Ryou whispered briefly in his yami's ear and glared at Yami.

"Until Ryou says he can come back," Bakura answered simply.

Ra nodded and looked sternly back at Yami. "Until Prince Ryou deems your time is up."

Yami stared sadly at the 'vampire', wishing there was a way out of this. "Ryou, will you ever believe that I'm sorry?"

Ryou smirked slightly as if it had been a joke. "Yeah, right. I will never believe that, and I will never forgive you."

The Pharaoh hung his head and turned back to where Ra was standing. "I accept the sentence, my Lord. But–" he fidgeted worriedly and glanced back at Ryou– "if I'm banished, what happens to my patronage? There are many duelists and priests that rely on my support."

"You should have thought of that earlier," Bakura muttered.

"No, no, Pharaoh actually has a good point," Seth said quietly. He thought in stunned silence for a moment until he spoke up again. "Perhaps we could bring up the matter of Ryou's place with the gods again?" After all, there is a patronage available–"

"Seth, we have told you before why that could not happen," Isis said calmly.

"That was last time. Last time, there was nothing he could have claim over. I feel it would be proper–"

"A seraph cannot be made into a god! It's against the rules."

"Heh, you're one to talk, Sis! You and Thoth made him a god!"

"We didn't! We ask the Great One, who is allowed to break the rules, and he gave Pharaoh god-ship."

"Yeah, looks like you picked a bad choice."

"That is beyond the point–"

"That is the point–"

"SILENCE!" Ra ordered, effectively shutting up the two quarreling siblings. Calmed, he turned his gaze to Seth. "Now, what was your idea?"

Seth smiled and leaned back casually in his chair. "My idea is that Ryou could become a god–a very minor one, mind you," he added to stop Isis from saying anything, "and he could claim patronage for at least one of Pharaoh's area's. Perhaps Pharaoh's hikari–uh...Yugi!–could take the rest, but Ryou should have first pick. And he wouldn't be allowed to do anything with his power to the Pharaoh–as I know he'd want to–without Bakura's or my consent." He turned his gaze from where it had been resting on the hikari back to Ra. "Well? Good idea, or am I still the failure of the family?"

"I don't think you're a failure, Seth," Bakura muttered quietly, having to suppress a yelp when Ryou bit him in retaliation.

"Perhaps we should do that," Ra answered. "Prince Ryou, what–"

"I want Memories," Ryou announced boldly, only briefly moving away from the bleeding bite on Bakura's neck.

"What?"

"If I become a god, like Seth and Bakura want me to, I want claim over memories," the hikari stated. He slowly licked a trail of blood of off Bakura's neck as he stared calmly at Yami. The Pharaoh shivered slightly under the 'vampire's' gaze, though he didn't look away.

"Of course, we have to vote on it," Seth said disgustedly.

"Yes, we do," Ra agreed. "Those for making Prince Ryou God of Memories?" Six hands flew quickly into the air, all from Seth's allies. "Those against making Prince Ryou a god at all?" An equal number of hands raised, Isis not surprisingly among them.

"Aw, c'mon, it can't be a tie!" Seth complained loudly.

"How do you vote, Shining One?" Anubis asked from near the back of the room.

The god in question gave a small sigh and smiled down at Ryou. "I vote for Prince Ryou, for I believe he would be a very good fair deity."

He waved his hand slightly and Ryou was suddenly glowing with light. The hikari felt a vague tingling shoot through his whole body, filling it with unparalleled warmth and brilliance, and his consciousness suddenly splintered into a thousand or more different facets. He found he could materialize back in Bakra without leaving The Hall of Neutrality, like there were two of him, one in each place. It made him slightly giddy to think about, so he focused all his energy on the 'him' in the Hall, and suddenly, there was only one of him again.

"Wow, how can you people stand this?" he muttered with feigned annoyance. He was slightly pleased to see that Yami jumped slightly and moved a few steps away at the tone of his voice; ah, the confusion of all this was surly worth that.

"You mean...it worked?" Bakura asked incredulously, eyes shining slightly.

"Of course it did...and I don't know how you can stand it," Ryou answered. Bakura laughed, kissed him, picked him up, and twirled him around in the air; in fact, even Seth stared suspiciously at them. No one had ever seen the God of Darkness so happy before, including any time he was with Ryou.

The white-haired yami suddenly stopped, placing Ryou back on the floor. "Ryou," he murmured seriously, pointing back at the Pharaoh with his thumb, "go find out if he knows anything about my Ring."

Ryou nodded and walked over to Yami, silently cheering when the former god recoiled, and placed a hand on his forehead. After a few moments, he turned back to Bakura, disappointment and apology clear in his expression.

"He doesn't know, Koi. He didn't steal it, and he doesn't even have a clue where it might be. Bastard," he added under his breath so only Yami could hear.

"Fine, we'll look somewhere else. Come here." Ryou obeyed and Bakura immediately enveloped him in a long kiss. "I never want you to leave me, never again," he whispered into the hikari's ear.

"Never," Ryou answered just as breathlessly. Then to Ra, he said, "May we leave now, Shining One? It's clear we're not wanted here by half of this collective party." He was referring, of course, to Isis's looks of absolute hatred that were evenly mirrored among her allies. Boy, the way this was going, they'd be in the middle of a war before long.

"You are free to leave, Prince Ryou, Thief Lord," Ra answered benignly, nodded to each of them. The two white-haired immortals smiled before they kissed and disappeared back to Bakra, leaving a very forlorn looking Pharaoh Atemu standing before the wrath of the gods.