One night dance


Warnings/notes: pseudo-Ancient Egyptian AU, Bakura/Ryou, experimental style, snippet.

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. The style that's used in this fic is meant to bear some resemblance to that used by Jo Clayton in her fantasy-novels, in particular 'Wild Magic'.

written at 25th january 2005, by Misura


The sound of the crowd washes over him as soon as he exits his house, and he can't imagine how the noise hasn't reached him before, crashing through the walls as if they were made of paper, to drag him out here, to join the mass of people that have gathered in the streets to celebrate.

He'd expected to feel discomfort, fear even, for his nervous and shy nature usually gets the better of him in situations such as these, when he's surrounded by many people, who might all be looking and watching him, ready to point and laugh at his every mistake, but he merely feels free, relieved, like his feet could move forever, stamping on the earth in the same rhythm that everyone else's feet are following, which is no rhythm at all.

Nobody stares at him when he laughs at the sheer strangeness of it all, and nobody tells him to explain the joke, which would be impossible to do, since there is no joke at all. There's only himself here, and a hundred, a thousand other people, who don't care about him and whose company he cherishes deeply for that.

Someone starts singing, a maimed version of a prayer-song, and he sings along, because he knows no one is going to declare that these are not the right words, or that his voice isn't suitable for singing, and it's wonderful to hear the sound being swallowed up by the roar of the crowd as soon as it passes his lips, or sooner still, to only feel the hum of the words in his throat, but never hear how poorly the sound he produces compares to the glorious voices of the singers in the temple, where his father serves.

Jugs of drinks are passed along, and nobody asks him to pay before he raises them to his lips, to quench his thirst, or to show what he has brought to this festival, aside from the burden of himself and his thirst and hunger for company. He doesn't know the name of the liquid within the jugs, just that it burns as it slides down his throat, thick and sweet like honey, filling his stomach with a kind of liquid fire that makes him feel brave enough to storm the palace and demand of his father to come home and put his family before his duty for once.

He doesn't think he'd make it though, not to the palace, not with the streets so crowded, and besides, he's happy here, in ways that he's never been happy anywhere else, and his father never wants for him to be happy, just wants for him to be good and proper and something that he can be proud of.

It's much better to stay here, among strangers, even if the cruelty of that truth is enough to make him weep and then someone hugs him, a complete stranger, like everyone else here, but somehow that makes it all better, and Ryou smiles at him, wishing he'd brought a jug to offer this kind person a drink.

There's music, after a while, when the sun already has begun its descent, and it's not good music, just loud drums and a few young boys blowing reed-whistles, but he's already decided that tonight, good and bad don't matter anymore, that he'll just try to be happy, just this once.

He'd have imagined that the music's only audible when you're near the musicians, wherever they are, but although he can't see them, he can hear the drums and the whistles, loud and sharp, a BOOM and a SHREE, and his body seems to move on its own, and he lets it, because he feels happy doing so.

At one point, someone hugs him, it might be the person from before, or it might be someone else, but it really doesn't matter, even if he smells sweaty, since Ryou probably smells like that, too, by now, after all the moving and dancing and singing he's done, and if the stranger doesn't mind, why would Ryou?

Besides, it feels good to be held and hugged, and it makes him happy, so he holds on, finding that it's not as easy to move with someone else but that he can manage if he tries not to move on his own, which makes so much sense that he can't figure out why he didn't think of that before.

When the music starts dying down, perhaps because the musicians have grown tired of only seeing people dance, and not dancing themselves, the sun's descent has been completed, but the dark is filled with laughter and light, and so Ryou isn't afraid of it at all, the way he'd be when he's home alone, and hears something move over the floor, slithering through the window, while he remembers the stories his father has told him, about the things that come and get the children that haven't been good and proper and making their parents proud of them.

Ryou's an adult now, but he's still a child as long as he lives with his father, who treats him like a child and sometimes, Ryou feels that his father is right, because he hardly knows anything and he's never been outside after dark or seen the rituals of the moon goddess or tested his strength against the things that belong to the shadows between this world and the next.

There's something else, too, that makes an adult out of a child, but his father never speaks of this, and Ryo lacks the courage to ask about it, yet the person who has held his hand and pulled him along, through the faceless crowds to a spot that's almost quiet, where they can sit without anyone trampling them, seems to know of this, and it feels nice to be kissed, even nicer than being held and hugged and made to think like he belongs, so Ryou kisses him back.

His stomach feels warm again, and his skin feels hot, even though he's used his clothing to make for a comfortable place to sit, which means it should be cold, since nights are always cold, only tonight seems to be different, for he feels almost like he's got a fever.

And then he feels like his fever got worse, and his heartbeat sounds like a drum, so loud that he is surprised that the other person doesn't seem to hear it, or if he does, he seems unworried by it, or perhaps this is all normal and Ryou'd embarrass himself by asking about it, and it seems a silly thing to ask, and he's not at all sure if he could talk right now, so it's probably better not to.

Mere seconds later, he finds that even if he may be uncertain of his ability to speak, he's definitely more than able to scream, and it's strange that he does so because something feels good, instead of bad, since so far, he's only ever screamed when he fell and scraped his knees or when someone hit him, but never when he felt so happy he could burst with the feeling of it.

He thinks he's never quite felt like this before, and he's not entirely sure if he ever will again, for this feels special somehow, as if this is a secret that he can only share with one person, and that is the person whose name he doesn't know, who has held and hugged him.

Quite likely, it's not a good and proper thing to fall asleep now, before he's had a chance to ask any questions, about names and when they might meet again and if the other even wants to meet him ever again, but Ryou can't seem to help himself, and he's being held and hugged again, so he hopes that maybe it's all right, that he won't be alone when he wakes up again.

x- OWARI? -x