I'll think of a title later!
Disclaimer: Yu-gi-Oh! Belongs to Kazuki Takahashi. All I have is 38 books of manga… and some cards and some GBA games…
Notes/Warnings: Atemu x Mahaado (I guess they're a couple, though not in a normal sense), Angst, Incest, Akunumkanon x Atemu (definitely one-sided), Squick, Rape, Obsession, Insanity, Twisted Loyalty, Anzu torture, and all that darkfic stuff. Written mostly kind-of-stream-of-consciousness, eh, and jumping tenses and all. Meant to be confusing…
Timeline: Pre-Ancient Egypt Arc, technically could be canon but… AU to be safe, since there are anime and manga aspects…
Title: Here there be Monsters
The boy was young, too young for this act, perhaps. But it didn't matter. Nothing mattered. The blood of the gods could not be denied. One sharp stab, one strangled cry…
The Healers were silent. Who would dare raise a hand to the Living God or dare question his motives?
And as the prince was sickly, and he already had a condition that seemed to shorten his height and keep him a child, well then, who would notice another contributor to the problem that the Gods had not chosen to solve?
They should be thanking Ra that Pharaoh took such good care of his son…
"Prince, you really shouldn't…"
"Mahaado, I'm tired. I don't want to go to any more lessons today."
The priest-in-training certainly could not argue with the Prince and his friend. He looked around. The royal guards were busy…
Just in case though… the shadows around them darkened slightly as he took the Prince's hand. They slipped out easily enough…
After all, you can't stop what you can't see…
He liked the palace, it wasn't that he didn't – the gardens were lovely and he often spent time at the royal menagerie and in the house of tablets, studying, but today he was feeling particularly ill or mischievous…
"What do you mean my son is missing?"
The guards made their obeisance and hoped that they didn't get executed. Pharaoh groaned and looked around.
"Never mind. He will return. If he is not here by midnight tonight it will be on your heads!" No, Akunumkanon was not in a good mood and only a suicidal fool would cross him when he was in this mood…
I will never let him hurt you. Never.
"It wasn't the Prince's fault."
He didn't scream.
He didn't know, no one was supposed to know, but then again, he wasn't just anyone… and he knew, even before he got the Ring, he knew.
He had always been able to see the shadows, and what hid in them…
Blue eyes half-closed but it was all right, no one would see the pain and it would be all right. His ka monster thrummed beneath his skin as he felt its power activate.
It was all right.
Even if the Pharaoh, may he live forever, although Mahaado didn't think that was a good idea, knew that he knew, he would not live much longer, not at all…
The Ring pulsed gently against his chest, spikes digging into his skin, pale crimson stains…
Atemu looked at his friend. Something felt off, but he wasn't trained enough to detect what yet. He swallowed nervously. This was ridiculous! It was just Mahaado, his best friend, nothing to get worried about, except…
Fingers twitched a second in a silent spell.
"I hate my Father."
Fingers in his hair – he kept his hair long, even though Seto scoffed at him and Karim wore a wig since he was bald and Shadah was bald and sometime some idiot had decided that priests should be bald but he was fairly sure that there was a good reason for this. Of course there always was.
Ruby met cobalt, cobalt surrendered…
He didn't need to answer that question verbally, now did he?
After that, everything was deceptively simple…
"You drink tea?"
"Perhaps I should request something else-."
"No. The servants would talk. They always do."
"Then I suppose it's lucky that I am your Shadow Teacher, is it not?"
"And with my health being the way it is, and your skills as healer, surely if I faint here no one will care. Except him."
"Except him." Mahaado agreed.
"I will kill you if you ever tell this secret." He pressed the dagger against the older teen's throat, drawing blood. Rubies.
Perfect adoration met his eyes. "I know. If I ever betray you, kill me. Promise me, my Prince."
"You will marry Lady Anzu a moon from hence."
Marriage, was it? Well, if she were suitably empty-minded, he could tote her around on his arm for a few months and have her die in childbirth.
He didn't want an heir. He was barely an heir himself, as his father was, Set curse him, still quite alive. But it was lucky his father was so weak. He hadn't inherited any skill with the puzzle.
But he couldn't get the puzzle until after his father died. It wasn't quite fair.
His teacher – now advisor – materialized out of the shadows and respectfully went into a bow.
"I'm feeling rather ill, could you escort me back to my quarters?"
"Of course, my Prince…"
The royal guards looked at each other. Sometimes, they felt rather like display pieces. They had no magic, no ka, and no special skills, just their swords.
Sometimes, it really sucked being a guard.
"Marriage is often used for political alliances my Prince. Your father…"
"I am sorry, my Prince."
The nightmare chains locked into play around wrists and ankles. The captor smiled sweetly, too sweet.
"I don't want her."
The rest went unspoken.
"I want you here with me. I want you to protect me forever… and you will never betray me. Never…"
The marriage went of without a hitch. Of course, that might be because the five assassins – in full possession of poisoned darts, daggers, and Ra knew what else, who had been sent to do the job were mysteriously found hours later, glowing with residue from dark magic.
Priest Seto tsked, and called some slaves to come clean it up.
But really, this wasn't his job. He'd have a talk with Mahaado later. Their security sucked.
Anzu was nervous. The banquet had been concluded, the dancers sent off, wine had flowed freely, and now she felt dizzy.
The Princess of Kush sat down miserably on her new bed in her new chambers as the Great Royal Wife, the Consort, and wondered where her husband, the Crown Prince was. He hadn't gotten drunk from what she'd seen, although his father had gotten a bit lively with the slave girls, but no one ever dared contradict the Pharaoh, the living Horus, may he live forever…
Soft fingers brushed the tangles out of his hair, smoothed sweet-scented almond oil over his body, danced in shadows…
"Wishing is for fools."
Silence. He stood, watching, watching… there. A sudden motion, a strangled scream, and a cry of pain…a flash of light before darkness descended over wrought silver.
Silence and darkness…
He took a sip of the proffered wine and walked into the room where his wife waited. He had a duty.
She vomited incessantly afterwards, willing herself not to cry. It didn't help.
How could a man be so damnably cruel?
He slept soundly, but then again, she was the one on the floor.
Carefully, she withdrew a hairpin. It would be quick. The jewels glittered brightly, pearls inlaid in silver…
Shadow and darkness wrapped around him warmly.
The Prince slept on soundly, knowing that his guardian demon was watching over him. It was a very comforting feeling. He snuggled deeper into the bed linens.
One must not waste the tools one has, after all…
"She's been poisoned by an assassin's dagger." Mahaado reported to the Pharaoh loyally… "It appears that someone made it into the royal bedroom. One of the ones from earlier that we caught, perhaps."
"It was terribly lucky my son was unharmed." The threatening edge was quite present.
He inclined his head.
"I expected better of you, Mahaado."
It didn't hurt.
Besides, the mage reflected, watching through his scrying spell, the Pharaoh really didn't think far enough.
He licked the last of the poison off his fingers and smiled at the Prince. No more evidence. "My Prince…"
Atemu smiled back.
"Do you know," He asked, "How the items were made, my Prince?"
"Of course I know." His fingers traced the edges of glitter buried in tanned flesh. "I have the proof in front of me…"
Somewhere, the Chief Royal Wife realized with a sickening feeling that she was pregnant. Pregnant with the Prince's child…
"Clever of you, Mahaado."
"But of course. You need all the allies you can bring…"
"And no heir."
"My Dark Magician… my precious Shadow Spellcaster…"
"I'm not a full spellcaster yet."
"No, but you are… even without the Ring."
The Ring glittered darkly as both watched it with jealous eyes. Possessive item, to go with a possessive Prince…
The spell was deceptively simple.
"I killed a hundred innocent villagers?"
Guilt always hits the worst villains. People have the oddest sense of morals…
He kept his eyes down as he knelt in front of the Pharaoh. Mustn't look up, or else he'd see the shadows…
The old fool broke down almost immediately, clutching his chest.
He watched impassively as life drained from those eyes. It glittered between his fingers, a strand of ruby, glowing darkly… it was slow and very painful, but the silence spell held well. Nothing less for what the man had done to his beloved Prince after all.
Then, he called the guards in.
He had been tempted to leave the body unburied, but as Guardian of the Royal Tombs, he'd had to preside over the embalming. Ra, that took forever…
Mana chirruped to the prince happily. She was a wonderful creation. His apprentice, of course, quite a nice way to hide the truth, planted two memories of childhood and she was a perfect drone.
The Prince liked Mana. He liked playing with dolls after all.
There was a scream.
It seemed the Chief Royal Wife was going into premature labor. How unfortunate. The healers left the corpse when nothing more could be done.
It was always nice to have a model.
Twisted a few strands, programming, and of course, it needed loyalty. Keeping the gender the same would use less power… and the clothing changed, of course.
The Millennium Tauk glittered around her throat, as if it had always been there. A pity altering with shadows always left him so weak, but it suited his new role.
The woman's bright blue eyes met her creator's in a silent smile.
Anzu joined the pharaoh, entombed. Days later, Atemu became Pharaoh, as he was meant to be.
Of course, now he had two helpers to keep an eye on his beloved Pharaoh, and he had the Ring to claim its new owner, soon, oh very soon…
But before the Ring could be claimed, there were events to set into motion.
Really, Seto had every right to be suspicious. He certainly didn't remember Mana being around, for all her claim that she and the Pharaoh and Mahaado had been childhood friends. He wouldn't forget a girl as annoying as that so easily would he?
Perhaps Mahaado just didn't want them to kick his apprentice out. Weak fool.
And then there was Priestess Aishizu… why had they ever let a woman on the team? Still, no man wanted to wield the Tauk…
Shadah and Karim were conversing in quiet tones, as if the thought he didn't understand. He did. Weak. They were all weak.
To rely on another person was to be weak.
He fingered the dagger hidden in the Millennium Rod and watched as Mahaado made his report to his cousin.
If not for Atemu, he would be Pharaoh. But the damned priest was always there, keeping watch. It was rumored that he even slept in Pharaoh's bed to prevent assassination attempts. Seto didn't discredit it.
And that was when Thief King Bakura entered.
The puzzle is warm against his chest and he cradles it in his hands and he has to bite back the laughter bubbling inside him at the sight of the corpse dragged in on the end of a rope. So this is what his father has been reduced to!
But he has to act. He noticed the subtle flickers and he understands, and he watches as they all lose to Diabound, and then Obelisk is summoned and he laughs inside because everything will be all right now.
Now Bakura will hate him and become the weapon to end this cursed dynasty. Now his cousin grows jealous and plots his demise. Now his uncle begins to research and find what was too loosely buried under watchful blue eyes.
He leaves and stands on the balcony. Shimon enters. Time to act. He watches as Mahaado falls to his knees.
Now punishment does sound interesting… but he gives his forgiveness, because there is nothing to forgive, and after Shimon leaves, he tastes blood and wine and darkness. It's addicting.
He traces the pointers of the cursed item. "Though I walk through the Valley of Shadow, you will be by my side…"
The answer he receives is brilliantly conceived, and the next morning, when they battle, he understands why Mahaado is so distracted…
The Tomb Robber has come. He acts and his magic is brilliant, brilliantly dark, and well, when he dies, does he really? He lost his life long before he was born.
Besides, the game was fun while it lasted. His acting skills have improved ever so much since then…
"Spirit-Sorcerer's Final Secret! Sacrifice Life to fuse Ba and Ka together!"
The Tomb Robber looks shocked, but now the Ring is his and meddlesome priest is out of the way, isn't he?
That's all he has time to think about before the Dark Magic Attack blasts him off the bridge and into the abyss below.
Mahaado smiles and then reaches for his beloved Pharaoh one last time.
He cries and Mana cries, and the rest of the priests don't press too hard as they stand in front of the stone slab. It was all Mahaado's fault anyways, careless, his own fault for being so weak, Seto whispers, and the others agree.
Aishizu cries, but no one understands the true reason.
He wipes his eyes on a handkerchief after they return to the palace, wincing, wishing that the onion hadn't stung so much and that the shadow wraiths had been a bit more difficult to defeat, and less of those cowards. How predictable of Bakura….
He falls into dreamless sleep and dreams of madness. Then, he sends out Slifer and the battle is rejoined, and he falls off the cliff until Hasan rescues him. And then Shadah finds him and off they go to Kuru Eruna and, well, it's not his fault his Father decided to kill those thieves? But he cries just to make sure Bakura sees it.
And when the magic glitters around him and resolves and the battle begins, so what if he doesn't have the Puzzle?
He doesn't need the God Cards when he has this.
Spellbinding Circle, Magic Cylinder, Mahaado had always been resourceful and if they knew the future, so what?
It was the same, even if the light blinded him so badly he had to hide in a maze of corridors and traps and nightmares to stay away from it, and deal with those pitiful humans – Anzu had been reincarnated and she'd fallen for him. What irony!
The Puzzle was the closet to immortality he could have gotten, in any case, and if he happens to have a Dark Magician living with him, well, who has to know?
But getting bashed into those stone pillars had to hurt.
Still, once the rest of the priests showed up and Karim brilliantly fused their Ka together that rescued him from making explanations…
Mahaado was such a good actor. Of course, the shadows probably had something to do with it, but no one could see, so it didn't matter…
Then, Zork appeared and it went downhill… no, it didn't, once he found out what Bakura was playing with, acting distressed had been second nature sever since he had joined Yugi and his gang, and wasn't it wonderful that they had never found his true soul room and only the door to his false memories?
But in any case, they summoned Horakhti and Zork was banished, and light won and everyone was happy. Right…
And then Isis told him he'd have to die.
"You must remember, Pharaoh. Isis is not Aishizu."
"More's the pity." That armor was a pain to get off, but luckily, they didn't need to do it by hand.
"I apologize for my oversight."
"You could not have known how the program became corrupted." Blue eyes brilliant with agony met his own. "Then again, perhaps you deserve some punishment for that…" Yes, his spirits were lifting already.
"Yes, my Pharaoh…"
He'd lost. The almighty king of games had lost to a pathetic little light! It was inconceivable! It was – it was-!
Invisible hands steadied him, warmth…
You don't really think we didn't plan this?
We're waiting for you, Pharaoh…
Everything will be fine…
So he stepped through the door of light and didn't look back. As soon as it closed, he kicked his father in the balls. Hard.
Then, he hid behind Mahaado.
Perhaps Eternity would be interesting.
Okay. I bastardized Akunumkanon. I apologize for that. And Anzu got, er, damaged in the process of the fic. Sorry to her fans. And I tried to make Seto better, if not a cold emotionless bastard. I don't think I succeeded. And yes, in this timeline the Millennium Ring corrupted Mahaado, unless he really is that scarily loyal! Which could be possible… ponders But anyways, hope ya'll enjoyed the fic and again, I don't own Yu-gi-oh! And I had warnings at the top so if you ignored em its your own fault!
As on Anzu, Mahaado messed with her – he was the one who poisoned her when she tried to kill Yami, and later, he caused her to go into premature labor so he could use her body for other things… like creating Aishizu. She and Mana aren't, er, human, since Mahaado made them. I think that's it. It could technically still fit into canon…