Author's Notes: I wrote this to fill in a gap in episode 65, in which Bakura tracks the Sennen Tauk to the museum and finds the tablet of the Pharaoh's and Priest Seto's battle. I thought it was ridiculously OOC of Bakura to just pass up an Item when he knew it was right there under his nose, regardless of the distraction. This is my idea as to how that might have happened.
Warnings: None. No pairings… I don't even think I swore in this one! That's new…XD Spoilers, I guess…
Dedication: Written for my forever-adored Snare-chan, as a present for her birthday.
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh, but I do like it a lot…
A Deal with Destiny
When Ryou Bakura passed through the city of Domino, nobody seemed to pay him much mind. When his darker counterpart walked around, however, people had a tendency to turn and stare. The latter wasn't sure if he cared for the attention or not, but it mattered little to him at the moment.
He was hunting.
Perhaps it was not the strangely intense young man that Domino's residents were noticing, but rather the object in his hand: a large golden Ring which was shining too brightly to be ignored, even with the sun beating down from overhead.
In either case, Bakura had no interest in the common people. He sought merely one person, and that person was very close-by, if the Ring's pointers were of any indication. He had been unable to locate any of the other Item-holders since his theft of Pegasus's Eye… until today.
"The Tauk," he murmured under his breath, his concentration entirely focused on tracking the Item. It didn't seem to be moving away from him, meaning he'd not been detected yet. That was all the more convenient for him; he always had enjoyed taking his victims by surprise.
He continued to ignore everything and everyone around him as his own Item led the way toward a large white building at the far end of the plaza. He paused at the foot of its marble stairs, glancing upward and squinting against the sun.
"Of all the Items hidden in this city, one of them is here," Bakura mused aloud, starting up the steps. The Ring's pointers jingled together with impatience.
Upon passing through the glass doors at the entrance, it was immediately apparent that he had discovered some sort of museum. His lips twitched into a frown as he considered that he might have to break into a display case to retrieve the Tauk. He had been certain that the Item was in someone's possession…
His suspicion was quickly reaffirmed as he sensed movement somewhere below him. He let out a soft growl of frustration as he set off down the nearest hallway, looking for a way to reach the lower level. Rounding a corner, he found a staircase which, unlike the rest of the surrounding area, was roped off with a dark red cord. He moved around the small barrier with ease, descending to what he assumed was probably the basement.
As his feet found the tiled floor, the Ring's pointers drooped lifelessly downward as the Item's light faded away. Bakura looked at the object in bewilderment.
"Have they escaped?" he asked the room in general; he could no longer sense the Tauk. He raised his eyes to survey the room for possible places that his fellow Item-bearer could be hiding, but was thoroughly unprepared for the sight that awaited him instead.
The place was filled with relics native to his long-past homeland. Vases, jewelry, statues, and various other terribly-familiar things were scattered around him, and he suddenly had the odd sensation that he'd just walked into a trap. He was instantly on alert. His eyes darted about suspiciously, but there was no sign to indicate that anyone but he was occupying the space.
Impossible to miss, however, was the large pair of stone tablets hanging on the far wall. Bakura approached them silently, cautiously. The first was carved with hieroglyphs and had pictures of various creatures that he recognized right away as being Duel Monsters. Fascinating as the images were, they did little to hold his attention. As he turned his eyes to the second tablet, though, his breath hitched in his throat.
"It's him," he hissed, taking a step backward in horrified disgust. It was none other than the Pharaoh – that wretched thorn in his side – who stared sightlessly from the stone.
"What is this?" he asked. This was not what he had thought to encounter in this place. He hadn't wished to be reminded of his past today; it was far too much of a hindrance to his goal. Already, though, just by glimpsing the tablet, he was remembering things he had long been trying to push to the back of his mind.
While he stood gazing up at the aged stone, he was forced to squint as white fluorescent light poured over him. Fake light. Man-made. Bakura imagined the light must have a certain heat to it, but even in possession of his host it felt hideously weak and cold when compared to the brilliance of the desert sun. To think that once he'd cursed that very sun…
Shaking his head against the memory, Bakura glowered at the tablet. He ignored the Ring, which had managed to find the now-distant Tauk again and was trying to pull him toward it, in favor of trying to decipher the ancient rock's meaning. He fumed silently – it was a shame he couldn't read the text. But moreover he was angry with what he DID understand.
"Of all the things they could have remembered, they picked that imbecile Priest over me…"
He found himself feeling more than a little bitter about being confronted with this picture. He had battled Pharaoh many times, but Seto battled him once and was immortalized in stone for it.
"He and that dragon… Pharaoh and Mahaado…"
What of Diabound? His Diabound… what of HIM!
His fists clenched at his sides. Was he so unimportant? It was always the Pharaoh's glory… always the Priest's. Never was it his, nor KuruEruna's, nor that of anyone else who had suffered because of the Items.
The Ring pulsed angrily against his chest. The Ring… his prison cell. The place to which he'd been condemned by the very Pharaoh depicted before him. His lips pulled back in a snarl.
Unable to stand the sight any longer, Bakura paced through the rest of the vile exhibit. Surely he had made history somehow? He lamented once again that he had no knowledge even of what his name looked like in hieroglyphics. He had discovered long ago that he couldn't steal literacy, and there had never been anyone to teach him…
His unpleasant thoughts were swiftly interrupted as the Ring's five pointers raised in unison, indicating the doorway. Amber eyes narrowed; his prey had become careless, coming far too close to be out of range any longer.
On the one hand, the Tauk was what had brought him to this place to begin with. On the other, the exhibit now had his attention, and he was growing increasingly frustrated at his own inability to concentrate.
He stalked out to the hallway in annoyance, determined to finish what he'd come to do before he examined the other room any further. Looking to his left, his eyes fell upon a young woman… one who sported the Sennen Tauk in plain sight around her neck.
"Hmph," he grumbled. "That wasn't much of a chase." The woman didn't respond; she was too lost in her thoughts to even take notice of him. After the lack of recognition he'd received in the preceding area, this continued ignorance only served to infuriate him more.
"I'm sure you know why I'm here, or else you would not have tried to hide from me," he sneered at the inattentive woman.
After a pause that made Bakura's blood boil, the young woman finally turned to look at him. At first she was obviously startled by his presence; she regarded him with confusion, stepping back in alarm as the Ring began to glow with more force.
"Found you," Bakura purred, advancing a step as she backed up another, his eyes glinting maliciously.
"Touzoku-ou," the woman breathed, and Bakura faltered in mid-step. The woman nodded her head as if to confirm what she'd just said.
"How do you know that?" Bakura snapped, his patience long gone.
The woman gave a small bow.
"My name is Isis," she said calmly; whatever fear she had possessed moments before had disappeared. "I am the one who arranged the display with which you have become so angry."
"If you're expecting a 'thank you,' you're talking to the wrong person," Bakura sneered.
But inwardly, the name she'd called him had hit a sore spot. Of course his name and image hadn't been celebrated by the scribes and artists – no matter what deeds he'd done or what crimes he'd committed, the fact remained that he'd been nothing short of a lowly peasant and a thief, and anyway, hadn't their mighty Pharaoh defeated him in the end?
He clenched his fists again as he trembled silently with rage and resentment. How dare this fool woman call him by that title and make him think such things! He would tear her soul apart in a Shadow Game…
Before he could give voice to his fury however, the woman – Isis – frowned at him.
"Certainly, you have come to relieve me of the Tauk," she said. "But before you decide upon a method, I wish to present you with a proposition."
Caught off-guard, Bakura eyed the woman suspiciously, forcing his anger aside for a moment.
"Oh? And what might that be?" he asked, not really caring – he had absolutely no intention of leaving this place without adding another Item to his collection.
"I have a brother, Malik, who has gone against our family's duty to guard the Nameless Pharaoh's memories," Isis began, and Bakura squashed the urge to say, 'boo-hoo.'
"He has stolen the Sennen Rod," the woman continued, "which we were meant to keep safe. He intends to enter the Battle City tournament in order to destroy the Pharaoh and claim his majesty's title and power for himself."
At this, Bakura rolled his eyes.
"I did not come here to provide a shoulder for your woes, nor to listen to fairy tales," he said derisively. "And besides which, the only person allowed to defeat the Pharaoh is me. I came to retrieve the Tauk, and that is what I plan to do, if you're quite finished babbling."
As he spoke, he began summoning his magic; the Ring glowed sharply again.
"I am getting to that," Isis said, remaining unfazed. "My proposition is this: help me restore my brother to his proper place, and I will give you not only the Tauk, but you may claim the Rod as well."
All of his anger dissipated at these words. He abruptly tried to seek the woman's possible motive which, he decided after a moment, was probably just to get her 'happy family' put back together. If he agreed to this and determined that there was no such person as the "Malik" she'd described, it would be the woman's own folly and he would get the Tauk anyway; the Shadow Realm would see to that. This was an opportunity if ever he'd heard one. Not just one Item, but two? Certainly the risks were worth the rewards…
"And where would I find this brother of yours, should I take your offer?" he asked casually, as if he was still debating his answer.
"He will be arriving in this city in approximately three hours' time," Isis said. "He is coming by sea, so if you make your way to the port you are sure to intercept him."
"Hmm…" Bakura weighed the pros and cons in his mind. He was already picturing the Pharaoh's face as he unleashed the might of four Items against the Pharaoh's one, already reveling in his victory-to-be as the Pharaoh's soul was shredded and cast into the Realm, devoured by darkness…
A sick smile twisted his features.
"I accept your terms," he said finally, delighted by the prospects of this deal. "You will have your brother, and I will have my Items; the Realm binds us to these conditions."
Both Items shone harshly; Bakura felt the familiar chill of the Shadow Realm surround him as it made their agreement final. When the sensation subsided, he turned to go.
"Touzoku-ou!" Isis's voice called after him. He paused stiffly, his back still to her. "I might warn you: my brother has many followers, and he himself has gone mad – do not underestimate his strength."
Madmen and their comrades were no cause for concern. Bakura strode away from her without another word, heading back through the exhibit.
As he passed, he cast a fleeting glance at the Pharaoh's and Priest's portrait and narrowed his eyes.
"It seems something strange is going to take place soon, and I plan on being a part of it when the time comes. We'll see how great you are when you're groveling for your life at my feet, Pharaoh," he spat, tearing his gaze away from the hateful sight.
He made his way outside, back into the very-real afternoon sunlight. The Ring thrummed impatiently against his chest, already trying to draw him toward the ocean and the Sennen Rod.
"Malik," he murmured, testing out the name. His lips twitched upward into a feral grin. "Your dear sister has asked a favor of me…"
End Notes: Of course, we all know what comes next, and how well it works in Bakura's favor… meh. I can't remember how Bakura finds out about the God Cards, but I think Malik probably tells him; I didn't see any point in having Isis give him that bit of information – it wouldn't be an advantage for her at all.
Assumedly, and in terms of this fic, Isis already knew that Bakura would be unsuccessful in his attempts at gaining the Rod, so she'd have no reason to worry about making that kind of deal with him. Keep in mind that this takes place BEFORE the episode where she duels Kaiba and he shows her how the Tauk isn't always right.
Isis knows his title of "thief king" (touzoku-ou) because Isis knows everything. Or, to be more specific, everything pertaining to the life of the Pharaoh, which I would assume includes his battles with Bakura. I left it in Japanese because for some unknown reason it sounds more sinister that way.
I'm sorry it's so short. Hopefully it's satisfactory, though…