The best of brothers

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Warnings/notes : Mokuba, Ishizu, after-serie-AU, slightly weird, drabble-ish shortie.

(!) Spoiler for Yami's 'real' name.

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh.

written at 13th november 2004, by Misura, in reply to a Trick-or-treat-challenge made in my livejournal by Farli which offered as a subject:

"Ishizu, Mokuba, a sarcophagus and no pairings."

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Mokuba Kaiba, one of the richest people in the world at age twenty, without even having had to work for his wealth, stared at the golden sarcophagus that stood in the middle of the room, the centerpiece of the exhibition, and decided that life was utterly unfair.

He couldn't say that Yami, Atemu, didn't deserve this place, especially considering the exhibition wore his name; 'Atemu, the Child-Pharaoh: Legend or Myth?'.

But he also couldn't say that Seto, Priest Set, didn't deserve to be more than a side-note, earning no more than a brief mentioning on a tablet that was hanging in a shady corner, invisible to all but the most genuinely interested visitors.

Seto had told him there'd been two big tablets here when Ishizu had invited him over, depicting him and Yami dueling. Mokuba remembered thinking that that was as it should be.

This ... kitschy sarcophagus that was so emphatically present, making the clay-tablets seem gray and dull in comparison to its bright colorings, annoyed him. In a way Yami never had.

Mokuba sighed, toying with the idea of making his displeasure known to the director of the museum. He wouldn't do anything like that, of course, but the idea, the fantasy was nice for a while.

'You're insulting my big brother,' he'd say.

To which they'd reply: 'How so?'.

'By making Atemu's Priest seem so much less important than Atemu,' he'd answer.

He imagined things would go downhill from there. In the best case, they'd only call Seto, to inform him that his little brother was suffering from delusions about him being the reincarnation of some Ancient Egyptian Priest.

In the worst case, they'd call the press. Those'd simply -love- a story like this. Mokuba could already see the headlines. Heck, they threw with more than enough dirt already when he was behaving himself perfectly normally.

Mokuba sighed.

"Do you find the exhibition so boring?" a light, female voice inquired.

Mokuba turned around, somewhat surprised. The official opening-hours of the museum were long past; he'd only been allowed in because there might have been too much of a commotion otherwise. And, of course, because Kaiba Corp. was one of the biggest sponsors of the exhibition.

As he saw who the speaker was, he relaxed, almost smiling. Ishizu might not be a friend, exactly, but she definitely wasn't going to storm him for an autograph or ask him on a date.

"Were you involved in arranging it?" Mokuba asked curiously.

Ishizu inclined her head, striding closer to the sarcophagus. "Yes, I was."

"Why on earth did you do -that-?" Mokuba gestured at the sarcophagus in disgust.

Ishizu raised one eyebrow. "What do you find so offensive about it?"

Mokuba frowned, not understanding how she couldn't see that. "It's big and -gold- and ... " An object couldn't be arrogant, could it? "It sucks all attention to itself," he finished a bit lamely.

"That's true." Ishizu shrugged. "But most people like it. They come here to see treasures. And their idea of treasures includes gold and gems. Without the sarcophagus, this exhibition would have drawn a lot less visitors, which would mean the museum might not have earned enough funds to pay for another expedition to Egypt."

"So you compromised?" Mokuba inquired, a little disappointed. Somehow, he'd always imagined Ishizu as the type of woman who never compromised, never settling for less than what she wanted.

"No." Ishizu smiled and shook her head. "I just made it so that those who come here to see the superficial riches of Ancient Egypt can see that, while those who are able to see beyond the material will also find what they are looking for. You came here to see your brother's former incarnation, so you found his portrait."

"He deserves a better place than somewhere hidden in the shadows," Mokuba said sharply.

"Your brother would have, perhaps," Ishizu acknowledged. "But the Seto Kaiba of the present and the Priest Set of the past aren't the same persons. Their characters as well as their merits differ greatly."

"Weren't you the one who spend -hours- to convince Seto that he and this Priest Set -were- the same person?" Mokuba demanded. "You talked about how he and Yami would forever be facing each other as rivals."

Ishizu shrugged. "In the beginning, yes, that's what my Sennen Tauk showed me as the future. Yet they have fought side by side against evil, and the Pharaoh is no longer in this world. Compare your brother to this sarcophagus if you wish."

Mokuba made a face. "Flashy and showy? That sounds more like Otogi to me."

"Actually, I was referring to the way he may look like something at first, but turns out to be the opposite once you manage to see beyond the surface, beyond the initial impression," Ishizu clarified.

Mokuba thought about this for a moment, before deciding that even if Ishizu's explanation and interpretation of his big brother as being cold only on the outside made sense, her comparison still was flawed.

"How is -your- brother by the way?" Mokuba inquired, feeling that if Ishizu felt she had the right to judge and talk about Seto like she knew him, he too had the right to behave a little less than polite.

Malik had apologized for having him kidnapped, more or less, but Mokuba couldn't say he'd sounded very sincere. Nor had he seemed like a different person, in spite of Yugi having told him Malik had been under the influence of some evil force, the same way Yugi himself had been controlled by Yami during duels, before they'd made an agreement to cooperate.

"He is living with Rishid, back in Egypt." Ishizu sighed, suddenly looking tired and, well, more human than Mokuba had thought possible. "Superficially, he has recovered from his trials, and some days I am tempted to believe that the darkness no longer has a hold on him. But I know it to be an illusion."

Mokuba frowned, turning this bit of information over in his mind. "You mean, he acts normal and nice, only you don't trust him? Is that why this Rishid is with him? To guard him?"

"You lack the understanding required to have a right to condemn me. So please be well-mannered enough to refrain from doing so," Ishizu said sharply.

"What's there to understand?" Mokuba's voice rose. "You're simply so scared that your brother hasn't changed after all, that you refuse to ever trust him again. But guess what? That'll only make things worse. Because if you don't trust a person, you can't really love them either. It's your own fault if Malik isn't as open with you as he once was. Ever heard of 'forgiving and forgetting'?"

Ishizu stared at him coldly, silently.

Mokuba became aware of the warmth of his cheeks, and the way an echo of his words still seemed to be audible, the sound reverberating.

Still, he had no intention to apologize. Not for speaking the truth a bit louder than absolutely necessary.

After a few long moments, Ishizu turned around, vanishing back into the shadows that surrounded the door, as well as the tablet with Priest Set on it.

Mokuba remained behind, standing in the bright light next to the sarcophagus of the person who'd saved his life at least twice, thinking of the only person who'd ever hit him.

Thinking of brothers and love and trust.

OWARI