Title: Oidche Shamhna
Author: Crimson Eyed Dragon
Warnings: Language, angst, character death, lemon
Summary: Halloween – a time for families to go out and enjoy themselves, but to one man, it's a night worth staying home.
Oidche Shamhna means "The night of the Samhain"
Dragon: This was written in response to the Kokoro no Yami's Halloween challenge. I knew that most people would write about costumes, parties or regular Halloween themes, so I took this in a totally different direction. It's based on the Celtic New Year or Samhain, which is the forerunner for our modern day Halloween. The eve of Samhain was Oct. 31st, Nov. 1st being the New Year, Samhain, or 'Season of Death'. I used as many aspects of this holiday as I could but I'm not going to point them out till the very end of the story because I do not want to give anything away, unless I know it won't spoil anything. Remember - Everything is important and clues are hidden everywhere.
Leaves of various colors swayed softly in the mild breeze, their rustling was soothing to all that could hear them. The cool, crisp air caused the humans to scurry around, looking for the discarded warmer clothing they had packed away seasons ago before they dared to venture out into the fall weather. Dry, brown leaves that had finally let go of their short life, tumbled down gracefully to the ground, covering the dying grass with their shells, crunching noisily underneath the weight of Atemu's brown hiking boots.
Clutching the small wicker basket full of freshly picked apples to his chest, the twenty year old male made his way across the leaf-littered lawn towards the beautiful, pristine mansion that had been his home for over fours years now. Atemu sighed at the sight of the almost empty house, wishing he could he could hear it filled to the brim with voices of ones he loved.
A slightly stronger breeze brushed up against him, caressing the caramel-colored skin of his cheek, sending his golden bangs swaying across his face. Crimson eyes shifted slightly to his left, a small smile pulling at his lips.
I know; it's not your fault.
The small flutter of air suddenly stopped and the crisp morning chill seemed a bit warmer.
Reaching the backdoor, Atemu shifted the basket so he was holding it with only one arm, reached out with his now free hand and pushed open the sliding glass door. Once inside, he stepped to the side, letting the door remain open for just a few seconds before he finally closed it behind him.
Skillfully dodging the various schoolbooks and video games that were on the living room floor, Atemu made his way to the kitchen. Gently setting the basket down on the dark blue granite countertop by the sink, he quickly shed his red sleeveless flannel vest and draped it over one of the stools by the island. Turning back to the sink, Atemu turned on both the hot and cold water, adjusting the temperature till it was just right before he pushed the sleeves of his gray t-shirt to his elbows.
Carefully, but thoroughly, he washed each individual apple, laying them down on a kitchen towel to air dry. Humming to himself, he dried off his hands and walked back into his living room just in time to see his young charge come bounding down the stairs followed closely behind by three year old German Shepard, Kiso, who had been bought as a protection dog but wound up being more of a permanent friend for the young Kaiba.
Cheerful as always. The young man couldn't help but smile back at the infectious nature the fourteen year old radiated. "Good morning. Have you got everything pack for tonight?"
"Yep!" Walking over to the sliding glass doors, he opened them up, letting his dog out while Atemu sat down on the couch. "But I'm going to need you to help me get ready or at least help me get Kiso dressed. I don't think he's too fond of the costume."
Nodding his head, he watched as Mokuba slipped out the door, trailing faithfully after his wondering dog. A cold draft settled over his skin and he gently tugged his sleeves back down, covering the tiny goose bumps on his arms, providing some warmth. But that was as far as he would go. He refused to light a fire or turn the thermostat up or even cover himself up with a blanket. Three years of cold spells made a person used to it eventually and in his case, even welcomed it.
The air was heavy, pressing down on the chests of all that stood in the sacred tomb, making it difficult to breathe, hard to move. Dust and dirt of thousands of years stirred under the holographic monsters that clashed and died against each other in the most important battle of this lifetime….
….of his second lifetime.
Atemu gritted his teeth, facing his once host and always partner. Yugi was trying so hard to win, so hard to put him to rest, give him the peace he deserved but the child was wrong. He didn't want to go into the Afterlife, to see his family and friends, ones he only just now remembered; no he wanted another chance at life.
A third and hopefully final chance at it.
A body. A body of his own; to touch, feel, smell, taste, run, exhaust when he pleased, to hurt or worship as he wanted too. No more seeing from eyes not of his own, feeling with someone else's fingers, nerves or brain cells that sent the signals to Yugi's mind, letting him only feel the 'memory' of it. No more being careful or mindful of his – Yugi's – body.
Was it too much to ask? One more chance? And why in Ra's name hadn't anyone bothered to ask him what he wanted instead of assuming?
But that didn't matter anymore. In the blink of an eye, Yugi threw down the winning move and the ancient doors opened up.
Bright, beautiful, holy light cascaded from the opening, washing the dim, dank tomb with its radiance. Figures of his past stood before him while the bodies of his present stood silently behind him.
This was wrong.
He took a step towards his destiny…
He didn't want this.
Another step to his past….
…towards his memories.
He paused, stopping just before the doors, crimson eyes wide. He knew that voice, the one that called out to him when no one else did, the one that always had him craving more, craving to be alive.
"You just going to walk out like that? Seems cowardly to me, turning your back on everything here and going on to the simple life."
That voice, deep and mocking, yet holding nothing but truth. He was taking the cowardly way out by not stating what he wanted, just letting everyone tell him, give him what they thought was best for him. Why was he just letting himself walk through those doors when it's not what he wanted?
"And here I thought you were the Game King? Can't even win the simple game of life!"
How can you win something you don't have to begin with? He didn't have a life; only a shallow shell of one, he was nothing more than a leach really. But he wanted it, gods he wanted it!
"So what choice is it going to be oh mighty Yugioh?" the voice sneered. "Do you choose to play? Or do you choose to forfeit?"
"I choose…" he turned around, crimson automatically seeking out the icy blue of that voice, scowling at the arrogant smirk that was given to him.
He would play, he would win, and he would take his victory.
"I choose…. my life."
The sweet smell of freshly cut pumpkins filled the air as Atemu placed his hand once again into the opening and scooped out some more of goopy mess inside, chunking out of his hand and into the trashcan. He sighed to himself as his nose began to itch, making him have to abandon his project to wash his hands just so he could take care of his problem.
With a wistful smile, Atemu gazed out of the window above the kitchen sink, eyes squinting against the now mid-day sun. It had turned out a beautiful day despite the early morning chill, and promised to be a clear night – perfect for the night's festivities.
Drying his hands on the hand towel, he returned to his mess, grabbing the knife off the table and looked at the orange fruit with a critical eye. It was important for him to get this right, the need for perfection inbred in his deep. Seeing the perfect starting point, he slowly began to cut into the tougher outer flesh, effectively making at suitable cap at the top. Pulling it off, he set it aside and turned his attention to the 'side' of the pumpkin.
Before long, Atemu sat back with a groan, muscles stiff from sitting in the same position and surveyed his work with an air of satisfaction. All five pumpkins now were the perfect examples of natural lanterns. Candles were the only things needed now.
Snatching the box of white candles off of the seat beside him, he pulled the lid off and grabbed one of them. Picking the knife back up again, he carefully carved the name 'Kaiba' into the wax, followed by the rune 'Eihwaz'. Satisfied that everything was clearly marked, he took a vile of dark brown liquid, opened the top and coated the white candle in the musky, earthy smelling Patchouli oil.
Placing the candle inside the hollowed out pumpkin, Atemu smiled as he lit it.
With this candle and by its light, I welcome ye spirits this Samhain night.
The stars twinkled like far off candles, welcoming, inviting weary travelers to a source of comfort and warmth. Salty, night winds whipped around the nearly empty beach, playing with grains of sand, rolling them gently around, slowly reshaping the land. Palm trees and various tall grasses rustled as the waves crashed, singing a beautiful lullaby made of natural voices.
Atemu closed his eyes as he let his mind drift in the wondrous melody. Chin resting on his knees, he could feel the slowly dying heat of the sand sooth his bare feet as he dug his toes further into it.
It was peaceful, something he realized he longed for more and more in the past few months, ever since he got his own body. Alone time was now something of the past, no more could he hide out in his soul room when he needed to think or feel nothing.
The Kame Game Shop was busier than ever with his and Yugi's status meaning that they had to help man the shop most of the time. His Aibou had his own life now but that didn't mean he had ventured off yet. No, the hikari had just graduated high school and decided to enroll at a local college so he could stay close to his grandfather. So most of the time, the gang was hanging around more than usual, needing to see each other as much as possible before everyone else left for their future plans.
And it wasn't that Atemu really minded Yugi-tachi, he did like them and they made Yugi happy but not long after they all got back from Egypt, he had come to realize that he didn't fit in. His mannerisms, his thoughts, his whole being was so totally different from any of them that he felt old despite the fact he only looked seventeen.
To him, they were childish, lacking in rational thought sometimes, and too carefree for the most part. He was a child of an ancient time, an ancient way, and ancient thinking.
He didn't belong.
But he continued to hang out with them, going to the various movies, arcades and concerts that all teenagers did just to make Yugi happy, which is why he was here on vacation with the group despite the fact he wasn't enjoying himself.
But Yugi was, and that was all that mattered, really.
He shifted, letting his bare legs slide down till they touched the now cooled granules, grimacing slightly when he felt some of them wonder up his blue jean shorts.
He sighed. All he wanted….
"So, the King of Games is playing solitaire tonight?"
Atemu groaned, displeased that his peaceful brooding had been interrupted by the CEO. Why the hell did the normally aloof teen decide that this was the one outing he would be a part of? He never accepted invitations before.
"What do you want Kaiba?"
Seto shrugged, the action barely noticeable in the pale moonlight. "What do you want?"
He snorted, not amused by the response. "To be alone."
"Then that's what I want."
Atemu snapped his head around, narrowing his eyes at the other, trying hard not to notice how the moonbeams reflected off his pale skin or how cinnamon locks played in the nightly breeze. "What the hell are you playing at? I'm not in any mood for your mind games today."
"Gah! Damn, you are an annoying self-righteous ass!"
When Seto threw him that famous infuriating smirk, Atemu growled, got up and walked away, not bothering to brush the sand off his bottom in his haste. How can someone be so infuriating and yet so damn alluring at the same time? Is it possible to want to mind crush the shit out of them while you contemplate the fastest and easiest way to get them in bed? Not that it mattered. They were nothing more than a thorn in each other's sides.
Too bad having his own body meant he also had hormones.
And yet that was another reason why he felt so isolated.
"Its rude to walk away from someone who's talking to you."
"And its rude to stalk a person too," he snapped, not bothering to suppress the anger in his voice as he continued to walk along the shoreline.
"I'm not stalking, I'm following."
At that, Atemu snorted in amusement. That was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard come out of the other male's mouth. Realizing he wasn't going to shake the "follower", he stopped and faced the enormous ocean, letting the water caress his ankles as the tide began to come in. "Funny, I didn't think the great Seto Kaiba followed anyone around." Crimson eyes watched carefully as Seto stood beside him looking off into the distance.
"Normally, I don't. But in this case, I've made an exception." The words were so soft, Atemu almost didn't hear them over the crashing waves.
Ok, that was confusing and weird and a little scary, but he decided not to comment. Undoubtedly if he did, he would only get some sarcastic response and they would be right back to arguing again.
They stood there in silence for longer than Atemu thought was possible with the two of them. More than confused and slightly put off, he furrowed his eyebrows and turned to face the CEO and asked a question that had been plaguing him since that day in his tomb.
He took a deep breath, "Why did you stop me that day? No one else bothered, so why did you?"
For a while, Seto continued to look out onto the ocean, arms crossed over his chest, not saying a word. Atemu was beginning to think that his question would go unanswered as always. Not that he really expected anything less, but still…he had hoped.
But just when he was about to give up and head back to the hotel, Seto turned to him, beautiful blue eyes seemingly open, honest and vulnerable for the first time since Atemu had met him and replied;
"I wouldn't have been able to follow."
Dragon: Ok, here's one thing I can tell you. Celtics didn't carve pumpkins. They carved out lanterns from gourds to keep candles from blowing out in the wind. When the Americas were settled, they took along the tradition but used pumpkins instead, finding that they were easier to cut into.
As you can see, this is like two stories in one, coming together at the end. So stick with me people, lol this has to be complete by Oct. 31!