Title: For You I'd Do Anything
Pairings: YY/Y, S/J
Warnings: YAOI, set partially in ancient Egypt, OOCness
I sometimes use modern words even though the story is placed in Ancient Egypt. I hope you don't mind.
Disclaimer: I wouldn't mind owning Yu-Gi-Oh but sadly I don't.
Intro: Yami has left for the Afterlife, and the Gods have sent Yugi back in time to when Atemu was still pharaoh. His mission is to help and convince the egoistical pharaoh to sacrifice his life for the sake of his people. If Yugi doesn't succeed, the entire future will chance, as he would have never met Yami in the first place.
Sadly, I've never been to ancient Egypt, nor do I possess an Egyptian yami. Therefore, most places, persons and buildings are purely made up, and did not necessarily exist in Atemu's time.
A/N: This is the same story that I've had up on this side before (For you, I'd do anything) and which was sadly removed by I've combined the first three chapters into this big one, which you are able to read now. The next chapter will hopefully be put up soon. I would greatly appreciate it if those who filed in a complaint because of my story told me about the problems first. That way I can change it and will be able to prevent it from happening again. Hopefully, though, that will not happen again.
"blablabla"- normal talking
(blablabla)- me, adding information
Yugi lay on his bed, his head buried in his pillow. His entire form shook as the room was filled with pitiful sobs. His grandfather watched him worriedly. Yugi had been in this position ever since he had won his duel against the pharaoh. Not even his friends had succeeded in cheering him up.
"You should eat something." Sugoruko told his grandson. No answer. Yugi ignored him as much as he ignored anybody else. "The pharaoh surely wouldn't want you to starve to death." Sugoruko tried again. This time he got an answer.
"Do not mention him!" Yugi yelled angrily. He turned to face his grandpa, new tears running down his cheeks. "Never mention him in front of me again." He begged. He couldn't bear to think of Yami. He had even stored away his duel deck, and had torn his dark magician poster off the wall. Nothing to remind him of his dark half was allowed to stay. Former dark half, he told himself, he's not my yami anymore.
"I'm not hungry, grandpa." Yugi muttered, hoping to be left alone once again. His eyes held a defeated look into them.
"When was the last time you ate?" Yugi's grandfather wanted to know.
Yugi sighed, annoyed at his grandfather's persistency. "I'll eat something later, grandpa. I promise." He just needed to be alone a little bit longer. All his friends tried to cheer him up, make him laugh. They wouldn't understand that he didn't want to be cheered up. Wasn't he allowed to be sad for once? He needed to be sad. He needed to grieve if he ever wanted to get over the fact that he had just lost the other half of his soul. Not that he expected himself to ever get over the fact but he had to try at least.
His grandfather sighed. "Very well. I'll come and get you in half an hour. Your friends wanted to come over by then as well." By saying friends, he meant Joey, his sister Serenity and Tristan. Ryou Bakura had gone back to England with his father. He had decided to finish High School in Great Britain. He obviously wanted to avoid constantly being reminded of his yami. Yugi almost wished he could join him in England. Seto Kaiba sometimes came to visit him but he was at the moment quite busy running his company. His little brother was in a summer camp about four hours away from Domino. Marik and Ishizu Ishtar had remained in Egypt, safekeeping the pharaoh's tomb, and looking over the exhibit in the Cairo Grand museum. Anzu was in Domino, but Yugi and her relationship had worsened to the point where both of them couldn't stay in the same room for longer than a minute without Yugi starting to cry or Anzu starting to yell at him frantically. She had, after all, been in love with the pharaoh, and was quite furious that Yugi had won the last duel. In her opinion it would have been much better if Yugi had left instead of Yami. As a result, Anzu had been shunned. Joey had even threatened to throw away Anzu's dance-equipment if she ever so much as talked to Yugi again. Yugi had been quite relieved to not having her around anymore. She always kept mentioning Yami, making everything just worse. Nobody, after all, missed the pharaoh any more than Yugi did.
"O.k." Yugi answered, though he hadn't even listened to his grandfather. His thoughts were, as always, centered on Yami. His eyes were blank as he stared at the empty wall.
Yugi didn't know how much time had passed since Yami had left. He had stopped counting the minutes a long time ago. Somehow it was hard to breath. Every time he tried to continue his life, his heart and soul seemed to clench together. It seemed as if he needed his dark half to survive. He didn't understand how he had been able to live before he had solved the puzzle. Well, actually he was quite sure he hadn't really lived back then. He had been an empty shell without his yami, and that was what he was going to be again. Anzu had always been right when saying it would have been better for Yami to stay and for Yugi to leave to the Afterlife. Yugi was quite sure Yami would have been able to live without him. He had done so in Ancient Egypt, after all. Although his friends tried to tell him otherwise, he was quite sure that he couldn't go on like that for much longer. Nobody could fill the hole his yami had left.
Toc, toc, toc, toc, toc…
At first, Yugi ignored the sound but when it didn't stop after several minutes, he sat up and began to look around for the source. Was this how his friends planned on cheering him up, by making noise? He could see no logic in that, and decided to go find out what was wrong. His grandfather could be in trouble, after all.
Toc, toc, toc, toc, toc…
This time, the sound came from right behind his closed door. Who was in the hallway? If that's a joke, it's a bad one. Yugi brandished one of the trophies he had won in case he needed to defend himself, and went to the door. Was it him or did the room suddenly seem misty? He yanked his door open; ready to hit the first person he came across, and ended up nose to nose to an old man. One of grandpa's friends?
"Not quite, young one." A deep, booming voice sounded through the hallway. "Not quite." Watery blue eyes wandered over him. "I am sorry if I startled you, young one. May I come in?" The old man didn't wait for an answer. He walked around a still stunned Yugi, and entered his room. Yugi turned around.
"Excuse me, but … who are you?" A roaring laugh shook the walls around them as the man's long, white beard quivered. His right hand went to a big golden ring on his left hand. A green stone was embedded in it. He started twirling the ring absent-mindedly.
"I'm a messenger."
"A messenger?" Yugi was confused. What did he mean?
"A messenger from the gods above. They sent me to you." The man clarified. Yugi looked at him in alarm. Were the gods mad at him? Was he to be punished for his thoughts, for wanting to die?
"Do not worry, young one. The gods have always been quite pleased of you. They understand your feelings. That is why they are suggesting a deal." The old man let himself fall on Yugi's bed, which gave a dangerous crack.
Yugi couldn't care less for his bed at that moment. "A deal?" he wondered. "What is the deal about?"
"Ah! I've hoped you'd ask that. I've heard many tales of your generosity and eagerness to help other people. Quite marvelous, a pure heart, indeed." The man sounded pleased, blue eyes twinkling. "You must know I'm one of the judges for the Afterlife. We hardly ever get to see such pure souls." The man hummed in appreciation, then seemed to remember what he was here for. "Ah, yes. The deal." He turned serious as he thought about what to say. The ring in his hand was rotated faster. Yugi stepped closer.
"The gods ask you to travel into the past. In turn, they'll fulfill your deepest wish."
"In the past? What am I supposed to do in the past?" Yugi wanted to know.
The other sighed. "It is somewhat difficult to explain. Most of it will just happen anyways. The pharaoh never told you anything?" The old man looked up hopeful.
"Yami?" Yugi's eyes widened, and for the first time he didn't burst into tears at the mention of his dark half. "I'd be sent into his time?" Then, remembering the question, he shook his head, frowning. "He didn't tell me anything about something like that.
"Then, let me try to explain. You existed in the past. The entire last year that the pharaoh has lived you were by his side. It was you who convinced him to sacrifice his life, in fact."
"Me?" Yugi was confused. "But how could I've been in the past. I didn't exist back then! I was the pharaoh. I'm Yami's reincarnation, am I not?"
"Of course you are. Something like his reincarnation at least. It is true that you didn't exist back then. That is why we have to send you back in time. It is the only way to keep everything from changing, do you understand? In the past you have already been sent back, so we have to send you back in this time for everything to stay the same. As we have had a vision of your arrival in the past, we've already made sure that people will think of you as a high priest. Then, you'll just have to stay close to the pharaoh, and convince him to sacrifice his life for the sake of his people. It is no easy task. The pharaoh is one of the darkness. He doesn't care for anyone but himself and his closest friends. You'll have to win his trust and change his heart. That is what made him the person you got to know. If he learns to love another person, then you have succeeded. That way, and only that way everything that has happened in your past will actually have happened. If you fail, and the pharaoh doesn't fall in love with somebody, then you'll never have met Yami in the first place. As you can see, it is important that you must succeed in your task." The old man hummed again, and then smiled at him encouragingly. "Well, I've got to go. Bye-bye." Before Yugi could ask any of the many questions he had, the old man evaporated into thin air.
"HEY, I didn't even say I was going to do it!" Yugi yelled. "I still have questions left! You can't just disappear!" Yugi looked up at the sky (or better said at the ceiling of his room). "Hey!" No answer. He frowned. Maybe he had imagined the entire meeting? He should probably just forget it. He had, after all, never heard of gods being able to send someone in the past, and Yami surely would have told him if he'd ever been there. It had probably just been wishful thinking.
Yugi sighed as he went back upstairs to his room that evening. Even though he had concluded that the meeting with this judge of the Afterlife had never taken place, his hopes were up high. He simply couldn't get rid of the thought, no matter how hard he tried. Even his friends had noticed the change in his mood. Although that was a good thing, as his friends wouldn't worry about him as much anymore, it also had its downsides. Once he knew for sure that it had been a dream, he'd fall into an even deeper depression.
His thoughts once again centered on Yami as he got ready for bed. Oh how he wished that dream had been true! He was quite sure that his deepest desire was that Yami could return to him. So, when he could make the pharaoh fall in love with one of his people, Yami would be able to return to him. Is it selfish to want your dark half back? I'd do anything just to see him once more. Why did I have to have that stupid dream? Now it will hunt me forever. Yugi kept thinking about his yami and about what he could do to fulfill the gods' bidding. Then, he finally fell asleep, dreaming of Egyptian concubines trying to win the pharaoh's heart, and sphinxes hunting him away from the palace.
When Yugi started to wake up again, he could make out faint voices.
"Shhh. Don't wake him up."
"I know what I'm doing, Narla. I've been working in the temple as long as you have!"
"Pssst! You know it angers the gods if you wake up one of their priests, Sheila."
"Well, then you should probably be quiet, Narla!"
Yugi was still too tired to fully register the content of the words. He groaned as he turned around, fully facing the source of the voices. Are they talking in ancient Egyptian? I'm probably imagining things again. The two women stopped arguing immediately, as Yugi opened his eyes.
"Who are you?" Yugi asked confused, talking automatically in the Egyptian native tongue. When had grandpa hired cleaning-women? They usually cleaned their house themselves. His room hadn't even been that messy. And why was it that hot? Last time he had looked outside, it had still snowed in Domino. Now it felt as if it had around forty degrees in the room. Maybe he had fever and was hallucinating?
"I'm sorry, your holiness. We didn't want to wake you. Please forgive us." One woman with short, black hair stated, bowing in front of Yugi. The other woman hastily joined the bow, while looking at him with big brown eyes worriedly. She had black hair as well, although her hair was tied up in a skillful knot. "We are your personal servants, your holiness."
Yugi frowned. The two women shrank away from his gaze, as if fearing the worst. He hastily changed his expression into one that he hoped wasn't as intimidating. "It's alright." He stated softly. "And you don't have to bow." Why were they bowing anyways? Could it be that the judge had been real after all? Had he been send into the past? But how was he supposed to find the pharaoh? He knew almost nothing about Egyptian tradition. He'd probably get himself hanged from one of the pyramids in no time.
"Thank you, your holiness." The two women straightened up. "You are really as kind as people say."
Yugi frowned again unconsciously. "Why? What do people say about me?" If he wanted to survive until he had found the pharaoh, then he needed to know as much as possible about who he was supposed to be in this time. "And why are you calling me your holiness? Shouldn't that title be reserved for the gods alone?"
The two women looked at each other in what Yugi supposed had to be a surprised and confused gaze. "B-but… the gods themselves have told us to call you that, your holiness. It would be an offense to you, your holiness, and to the gods themselves to call you anything else." Another bow followed after each time they said your holiness or mentioned the gods. Yugi almost feared they'd hurt themselves.
"The gods have told you?" Yugi wondered. In the meantime he got up and began looking around for clothes. He was glad that he had at least a linen cloth bound around his thighs but that surely wouldn't do for walking around in public.
"Yes." The women nodded enthusiastically. "Of course, you've just arrived from your long journey yesterday but our high priests have had visions of your arrival for many seasons now. Even the pharaoh's high priests have been notified by the gods of your importance. We've had to send them notice of your arrival as soon as you appeared, your holiness. They'll probably want you to stay close to the pharaoh. All the really important high priests are in the palace, after all."
"Very well." Yugi stated, while giving up looking for clothes. There were several loin cloths in his closet, but that was all. Obviously he wasn't supposed to wear anything else. He had found several golden ornaments and jewels, and began putting them on instead, trying to cover as much of his skin as he could. "And what did you say people are saying about me? Nobody has met me yet, as far as I know, so how do they know about me?"
"Oh, because of the visions, of course, your holiness. The high priests have praised your purity and kindness. We've heard a lot about your healing powers, and your supreme knowledge of the future, too." The women's faces were flushed of their eagerness to tell Yugi everything they knew.
Yugi smiled at them kindly. "Thank you." He opened the door unsurely, expecting to be reprimanded at any second. Was he allowed to leave his room? What was he supposed to do anyways? When no scolding came, he decided to go look around the temple. He couldn't stay locked up in that room forever, anyways, and he had to find a way to meet the pharaoh. Maybe one of the local high priests knew what to do.
Yugi sat on one of the stone pillars in front of the temple. He was waiting for the local high priest (his name was Shibto or something like that) to finish talking to the pharaoh. Atemu had arrived with a small group of people that morning and had been talking to Shibto ever since. Yugi pulled his silver cloak tighter; it was getting dark and therefore cold in the desert. He had convinced Shibto to let him wear something else beside the traditional linen cloth, as it was making him uncomfortable to be running around half naked. He was used to being fully dressed, and the stares and drools he received from local men and women were quite unnerving. Yugi sighed, as he unconsciously tugged at his garments once again, this time not because he was cold but because he was quite nervous. He was afraid that Atemu wouldn't like him. He couldn't be sure that just because Yami had liked him Atemu would like him as well. What if the pharaoh hated him? Yugi squirmed in his place on top of the pillar. Or even worse, what if I insult Atemu in some way? I hardly know any of the traditional Egyptian rules. What if I say or do something that affronts him without even realizing it?
"Your holiness?" Shibto softly interrupted his thoughts, and motioned for him to come down and join the high priest. "The great one is awaiting you." Yugi nodded, while trying to appear as unfazed as possible. If he had learned one thing in Ancient Egypt so far, than it were all the synonyms for the pharaoh: great one, star of Kemet, beloved son of Ra were only a few of them. He quietly followed Shibto back into the temple to finally, after five days, confront his former (or was it his going-to-be?) dark half. He reminded himself to bow to the pharaoh, and prayed to the gods that he wouldn't call Atemu by his birth name. It surely wouldn't be a good start for their acquaintance if he angered the pharaoh by calling him Atemu. Then, his thoughts came to a stop as they entered the room the pharaoh was waiting in. Yugi would have recognized Atemu's form even had he not worn all the golden ornaments to signify his power. They continued to approach the pharaoh until they more felt than saw him turn around. They bowed immediately, or actually they knelt in front of him as it was custom in Ancient Egypt.
"Rise." Atemu commanded, and Yugi did so, all the time making sure to not raise his head too far. Nobody was allowed to look at the pharaoh's face without a special invitation. While rising, he also noticed that the pharaoh's voice lacked any kind of feeling. It was devoid of anything that could tell you what he was thinking or about to do. He could have been planning to have them hanged from the rooftop, and they wouldn't know it. Yugi didn't like that voice one bit. It made Atemu appear even less human than he was. He was already hailed a god by Kemet's people…to have him talk like that put up an even greater barrier between them. How will I ever manage to make Atemu fall in love with somebody?
"This is him, I suppose?" Atemu stepped closer to Yugi, and Yugi could feel the other's eyes on his body, scrutinizing him.
"Yes, my pharaoh." Shibto acknowledged. Yugi said nothing.
"Good." The pharaoh took another step and now stood so close to Yugi that Yugi could feel the other's body heat and smell Atemu's spicy scent. He stood rooted to his place, showing no notion of discomfort, although he quite felt it.
"Fetch my high priests. I expect them at the front gate. We shall be leaving immediately." Atemu ordered Shibto, who in turn bowed and left the room. Yugi still controlled his features, although he inwardly frowned. They were leaving already? Will they take me with them or do they expect me to remain in this city? He had to accompany the pharaoh. How was he to make him fall in love with somebody if they were miles apart? All his thoughts and worries were cut short when he felt one callused hand touch his chin and raise his head. He found himself looking into crimson eyes.
"So, you're the one said to be sent from the gods." Atemu stated, his voice still devoid of any sentiments. His face, especially his eyes, was as well Yugi now realized. It irked Yugi to no end. He wanted to yell at the pharaoh to show some feelings. He wanted Atemu to laugh, to tease him, to have his eyes shine in admiration or silent laughter. He didn't like this emotionless puppet that now stood in front of him. He didn't do anything though. He simply nodded.
"Very well." The pharaoh said, and walked around him towards the door. "You will accompany me, then. You are of no use to me in this village." Yugi followed him immediately, silently wondering what Atemu had meant by that.
They joined a group of people, which were some of the pharaoh's high priests as Yugi knew now. He even recognized one of them to be Atemu's cousin Seth. Atemu made a motion with his left hand, and they mounted their horses. Yugi clumsily mounted the brown horse that Shibto had led him to, smiled a shaky smile at the high priest, and turned to look at the pharaoh, who was still standing on the ground. Shibto bowed to the pharaoh once more, all the while muttering something close to "great star, living god" and the likes. The pharaoh ignored the priest and finally mounted his horse as well. It was high priest Seth who thanked the local priests for their hospitality on their way outside of the temple garden. Yugi nodded and smiled at people he recognized. He couldn't believe, though, that Atemu had not spoken one word to the priests. It was as if he didn't care at all that they existed. He was completely apathetic. Well, I think I've got my work cut out for me. He can't go on like that if he is ever to fall in love. He won't even notice a girl in this state. A heavy sigh followed this thought, as Yugi followed the others out of the temple and city. It's bad enough that I have to make him fall in love with someone when I'm in love with him myself. At least one of the powers that the gods have bestowed me with is to conceal my emotions and thoughts. Nobody will find out anything more than what I want them to know.
Seth rode up to his side and stated: "So you are the person we've heard so much about."
"So it would seem." Yugi agreed, remembering how his yami had spoken and trying to sound just like him.
"May I inquire to know why you chose to look so similar to our pharaoh, holy one?"
Yugi smiled. "Maybe it is not me who looks like the pharaoh, but the pharaoh who looks like me." He hoped that he had judged Atemu's cousin correctly, otherwise he'd probably face a lot of problems now. Seth might see it as an insult.
Seth laughed at the comment and nodded in agreement, mirth shining in his eyes. "Yes, you might be right." Then, after a few minutes of silence, he continued: "Is it true that you've come to help us defeat the shadows?"
Yugi nodded. "Yes, that is my purpose here with you." He didn't add how he was supposed to save Kemet.
"Good." Another voice, this time Atemu's cold one, added. "We'll commence with the ritual as soon as we reach my palace."
"With the ritual?" Yugi repeated, not understanding what the pharaoh meant.
"Well, that's what you are here for, is it not? To take up my place in the ritual." The pharaoh said nonchalantly, frowning slightly at his ignorance. Yugi's heart fell. So that was what the pharaoh had meant when saying he was of no use to him in that city. He expected Yugi to sacrifice his soul for the pharaoh! Yugi frowned now himself.
"Is that not what you're here for?" Seth wanted to know, having noticed Yugi's reaction.
Yugi sighed and thought about the best way to inform the pharaoh that he was wrong without provoking Atemu to kill him. "Sadly," he finally began, "the sacrifice can only be made by one person and that person has been chosen already a long time ago. Nobody else can take his place." Yugi avoided looking at the pharaoh. "My purpose here with you is to make sure that nothing happens to that person until the ritual takes place." Well, that was actually a far stretch but if he had told them that his purpose was to practically force the pharaoh to into a marriage, then he wouldn't have lived to see the next day. And, after all, he would protect his dark half from anything as good as he could.
"Protect me?" The pharaoh mocked. "Then, you are as good as useless. I need no protection." He rode ahead to the first person in the group, leaving Yugi and Seth alone again.
The high priest sighed. "You'll never get him to sacrifice himself." He paused for a moment. "Or maybe I should say he won't sacrifice himself as long as there is no immediate need for it." Another pause. "And I can somehow understand him. I wouldn't want to seal my soul away either."
"It is difficult, I know." Yugi said. "But it must be done. To save your people, the people of Kemet. Surely he must love his folk enough to want to sacrifice his life for theirs?"
"His life is worth more than theirs." Seth argued. "But I understand what you mean. And I agree with you. It is him who you must convince. And that, I'm quite sure, you won't manage." This said, the high priest now left Yugi as well to join his cousin.
Yugi watched him leave. I almost fear you are right. It might really be impossible.
The next few weeks passed by in a hurry. There were so many things in the palace that Yugi didn't know about and had yet to learn. Most of his time he spent with high priests Seth and Mahado, with Atemu himself he hardly exchanged one word. The pharaoh didn't talk at all unless he ordered something to be done. Nobody was in his eyes worthy enough to hold his attention for longer than a few seconds. The longer Yugi stayed in the past, the more disappointed of Atemu he was. It was hard to believe that the person sitting on the throne was the same person who Yugi had learned to call a friend, and eventually even fell in love with in his time. Could Atemu falling in love really provoke that great a change? It seemed impossible but it was the only reasonable explanation.
"Are you done with the preparations for the festival?" Yugi asked Seth, as he heard one big papyrus role be shut.
"Almost. I've written the speech, told the servants which oil and spices we need this time, the invitations are out as well, the sacrifice has been chosen, the ritual words are always the same anyways…" the high priest continued to count of the things that they had already accomplished. Yugi laughed softly. It was funny how different to Seto Kaiba his incarnate was. Or actually it was probably just the way the CEO wanted others to see him. Yugi had always felt that Seto could be a great friend if he wanted to. Too bad that his past still controls much of his present.
"Tell me when you're done. Maybe we can still visit the city this afternoon." Yugi finally cut off the high priest. Seth nodded and immersed himself once more in one of his scriptures. Yugi was just about to get himself something else to read, when Mana entered the library. On her heels was Mahado, who, once again, tried to get his student to practice her spells. Mana, who was as fond of Yugi as everyone else was, sat down next to the young hikari and animatedly told him how her day had been so far, until Mahado began to drag her away.
Just as Mahado and Mana had left the room, another door opened and Jono entered the library. Jono was one of the higher ranked guards, looked and behaved stunningly like his reincarnation Jou, and was Seth's secret boyfriend. Secret meant in this case that everyone save the pharaoh knew about it but pretended not to know. The pharaoh himself had never had the time to see what was going on before his very eyes, and was therefore not informed of this affair. Yugi was one of the few people Seth and Jono openly talked about it to.
"Hey, Jono!" Yugi called out softly to alert the high priest of the guard's presence. Jono greeted with a broad smile and a wave. His boyfriend received a kiss, since nobody was around to see it.
"The pharaoh wishes to talk to you." Jono finally panted, once their kiss had stopped. Seth groaned and got up, mumbling something that suspiciously sounded like "annoying, little pharaohs". He grumpily left the room in search of the young ruler. Jono remained in the library to keep Yugi company.
"So, how is it going, your holiness?" Jono plummeted down across from Yugi on the seat that Seth had occupied just seconds before.
Yugi smiled and scolded softly: "I told you not to call me such."
"Yes. I know." Jono nodded seriously. Then, a smile spread over his features once again. "But it's fun to see your face when I do so nevertheless." Yugi rolled his eyes.
"So,…" Jono continued, "have you found a suitable girl yet?" Seth and Jono were the only ones that Yugi had told about the real reason for him being there. Fortunately, Jono took it a little bit more serious than Seth had. The high priest had broken down and had laughed until he was in tears, his stomach hurt and he couldn't breath anymore while Yugi had scowled at him. It was always stunning to see how much of an effect his glare had on those that knew him. Seth had simply laughed harder and had rolled over the floor, hands holding his stomach. Jono, luckily, had not laughed at all. He did not share Seth's sick view of humor. Instead, the guard pitied him for his duty, and had promised to help him if possible.
"Not really." Yugi sighed. "The only two possibilities I've found so far are Mana and Teana. I don't think there's any chance for him to fall in love with one of them."
"Why not? Don't give up, Yugi. There's always some chance."
"Not in this case." Yugi laughed dryly. "But thanks anyways. So, how is his highness doing today?" Yugi didn't want to talk about his mission right now. He'd hoped he'd find somebody suitable in the city. That was why he had tried to convince Seth to accompany him in the city. By the pharaoh's order he was not allowed to leave the palace and its surrounding grounds on his own. And Atemu would never ever fall in love with either Teana or Mana. Mana is what you could call a partner in crime. She is not mature enough for being queen and has yet much to learn. The pharaoh will never see more in her than a sister, if he can even consider her such. And Teana? Well, it'll take more than a miracle for Atemu to even notice her. She's tried to gain his attention for many months now, if what I've been told is right. But I wouldn't want her to achieve, anyways. She doesn't have the proper character that Atemu needs. She'd marry Atemu only for his position, and never for the person he really is or could be. Atemu is already cold-hearted and doesn't want to sacrifice his life for his people. He needs somebody with a heart of gold, who can show him the person he could be. Also, I think that if Atemu had fallen in love with Teana, then Yami would have shown some feelings to Tea, and I never saw him drop a hint.
"He was a real pain in the ass today." Jono ended Yugi's musings by answering his question. "He hasn't been in such a bad mood for quite some time. I suppose, though, it has something to do with his lack of sleep."
"He doesn't get enough sleep?" Yugi asked worriedly. He couldn't let the pharaoh get sick. He would, after all, never fall in love with anybody if he couldn't leave his bed.
Jono shrugged his shoulders. "He'll probably ask Seth for a sleeping draught. And hopefully, he'll be in a better mood tomorrow. I rather have him ignore my existence than yelling at me all the time."
"You won't get into trouble for being here, will you?" Yugi didn't want Jono to get punished for keeping him company.
"Nah, don't worry about it, little holiness." Automatically, a frown appeared on Yugi's face, but before he could respond anything to it, he was silenced by the pharaoh and Seth, who were entering the library at that moment. Seth had a weird look upon his face, one that Yugi couldn't interpret. The pharaoh cleared his throat before Yugi could try to read the high priests eyes. It was one of the powers he'd received from the gods. By looking into somebody's eyes, he could read their minds. He would eventually get even better at reading somebody's mind and heart. Right now he could only see what people didn't conceal from him but he got better in it every day.
Yugi slowly turned to face the pharaoh, not really believing that Atemu could want to talk to him. Actually, he'd thought the pharaoh had already forgotten about him again, once he'd found out Yugi couldn't be sacrificed instead of him. Once he met observant but cold crimson eyes, he lowered his head. Partially because he hadn't officially been asked to look at the pharaoh, and on the other hand because he couldn't bare to see the pharaoh's cold and distant look.
"What can I do for you, morning star?" If he'd found out one thing about Atemu, then it was that the pharaoh loved such synonyms. He liked being compared to great things. Just proofs his pride and arrogance.
"Well…" Atemu sounded unsure for a second, a notion Yugi had not yet observed in the ruler. "Seth has informed me that you desire to visit my city. I suggest you accompany me then, as Seth won't have time to see to your wishes. We will depart at noon. Be ready." That said the pharaoh turned around and left the library. "Jono!" he yelled from the hallway, and the guard hurriedly scrambled after him.
Yugi watched their departure frowning, and heaved a sigh. "Why me?" he wondered to himself.
"Don't you want to go to the city anymore?" Seth asked surprised.
"Of course I want to go to the city! But I don't want to visit his city!" Yugi tried imitating Atemu's voice but failed utterly. "And I really didn't want to go with him. He's like a frigging puppet! The whole afternoon I'll feel awkward in his presence. He will ruin the entire visit. You know I can't stand him." Yugi finished in a huff, suddenly feeling like a little child. The only thing missing was him stomping a foot on the ground.
"Aaaah!" he yelled exasperated, causing a few of the magical scrolls around them to shush him. He angrily left the library to seek some peace and solitude in the gardens. I can't stand the way he acts. Why can't he be more like Yami? Yugi sighed as he entered the beautifully decorated garden. Both Seth and Mahado had told him that it had been the young pharaoh who'd gotten the park installed, and Yugi would have really admired the pharaoh for it, had he not known the purpose for the garden was to impress his people. What a show-off! Yugi scowled angrily, causing one of the local guards to cover in fear. He was, after all, a god-sent person and to anger him meant to anger the gods. Yugi sighed again. He really had to learn how to control his facial expressions. Maybe I should ask the pharaoh to teach me. He chuckled dryly at the thought, then gasped as he ran into somebody. Both he and the other fell to the ground unceremoniously. Yugi winced as he hit the gras, and rubbed his butt as he got up again. He offered his hand to the other without looking at who it was, as he was still somewhat lost in his thoughts. He tried to control his temper, as he didn't want to yell at somebody who didn't really do anything wrong. He had, after all, not been looking at where he was going.
"I am sorry." He finally offered as he helped the other up and felt that he had his voice under control.
"Yes, you should be sorry!" the other yelled, and Yugi raised his head in surprise and fear, as he realized who he had bumped into. The pharaoh was angrily brushing off his clothes. "If you don't pay attention, then there is no need for you to remain any longer in my palace!" The pharaoh looked finally up and glared at Yugi with blazing eyes. Then, suddenly, his crimson eyes widened slightly and the look in them changed into something Yugi couldn't describe until the mask that Yugi had come to hate was put on again, and the pharaoh appeared unfazed. What was that? Yugi thought confused.
"Y-yugi!" The pharaoh exclaimed, his voice betraying some of his hidden emotions. Where he had learned his name from, Yugi didn't know. He'd never told Atemu what his real name was. Even more surprised him that Atemu had remembered it and addressed him such. It didn't fit his usual manner, and instead made him appear more open and friendlier.
"Please forgive me, pharaoh." He bowed, even though he had not called Atemu my pharaoh as it was custom. Yugi felt that the pharaoh didn't deserve being called that. He was a pharaoh, yes, but he had not earned Yugi's respect yet. He usually used synonyms to cover up his feelings, but at the moment he was still somewhat angry at the ruler and did therefore not choose his words as carefully as he usually did. "What will my punishment be?" he added, silently hoping that he at least wouldn't have to visit the city with Atemu. He would be scared of the ruler's decision, didn't he know that Atemu couldn't kill him or hurt him badly as long as the pharaoh didn't want to risk angering the gods.
"Punishment?" the pharaoh repeated, seemingly having forgotten already the reason for his former outburst. "I don't think there will be need for that. It was, after all, somewhat my fault as well, I suppose. Just be careful. I wouldn't want you to get hurt. The gods may not take it kindly." That said, the pharaoh walked around him, and continued on his way. Yugi watched his departure once again, wondering for some time whether the pharaoh had wanted to please him or the gods. He probably has some favor to ask, and that's why he is treating me that way right now.
At noon sharp, at least as precise as one could tell in those times, Yugi arrived at the front gate where he was already expected by Atemu and some of his guards. The pharaoh said nothing once again, simply turned around and led the way. Yugi followed him silently, concentrating more on their surroundings than on his companions. He only realized that Jono was not accompanying them, which was surprising as the pharaoh usually didn't leave without the blonde head-guard. As a matter of fact, Yugi had never seen any of the guards surrounding them before in his life. But, he didn't pay this thought any heed. It did not really matter to him at the moment.
After some time he realized that the pharaoh was looking at him. It took all his self-control to not ask why Atemu was staring at him. Luckily, the pharaoh turned around again, once he noticed Yugi's gaze. The former hikari silently shook his head at the pharaoh's strange behavior. He didn't understand it. He also hadn't seen any decent looking woman yet, and that made him feel somewhat desperate. How would he ever achieve his goal? He'd probably fail the entire mission.
Yugi was so lost in his miserable thoughts that he failed to notice the loud voices surrounding them at first. He blinked confusedly. What's going on? Apparently, Atemu had made some enemies in his city. A few men were yelling obscenities and throwing garbage at them. Atemu had stepped closer to Yugi, either to seek comfort or to protect him. Yugi wasn't sure of the reason. But suddenly one of the supernatural senses the gods had bestowed him with was triggered, and Yugi felt the pharaoh was in immediate danger. He pushed him out of the way. Dimly, he felt something hit him, he registered pain in his chest, just as the pharaoh turned around surprised. Then, everything went black around him. He heard somebody call his name over and over again, fear and worry laced in the voice, but he didn't recognize the voice's owner.
Yugi groaned. His left side hurt like hell. In the distance he heard loud voices. He didn't recognize their owners. Where am I? All he could remember was the strange dream he'd had. He'd been standing somewhere in the darkness, not knowing what he was doing there, and afraid that he'd died.
"No, no." Somebody had told him, and he'd heard footsteps approaching him. When the person had finally been close enough, he'd registered him to be the same judge of the After Life that he'd met before in his room.
"If I'm not dead, then what am I doing here?" Yugi had wanted to know. "Where am I?"
The judge had laughed his booming cackle. "Quite curious, aren't you? And impatient, too." The judge sat down on a big chair that appeared out of nowhere. "You're in one of the realms between the living and the dead. We brought you here when you took the spell aimed at the pharaoh. It is easier and goes a lot faster for the gods to heal you in this realm."
"I saved the pharaoh's life?" Yugi had asked unbelievingly. All he remembered was pushing Atemu out of the way when he felt somebody might want to attack. He hadn't realized that he had really caught one of the attacks aimed for the pharaoh.
The judge had simply nodded and smiled. "Quite brave of you. The gods have strengthened your powers, by the way. We can't have you appearing in this realm all the time, now can we?" The judge had laughed again, his voice echoing all around them. "But now it has been long enough. It is time for you to return to the realm of the living. Your friends are already anxiously awaiting your return. You've got them quite worried."
"I have?" Yugi had guiltily stated, because he didn't want anybody to worry because of him. "But I just appeared a few minutes ago."
The judge had laughed again. "Time flows differently in the realms. You've been unconscious for almost a month."
"A month!" Yugi had exclaimed in shock. He'd lost an entire month! How was he ever to finish his task?
"Don't worry. You're doing fine. The pharaoh has already begun to change."
"He has? But he's not even in love with anybody yet!" Yugi had been quite confused.
"Is he not?" The judge had asked but it had been a rhetorical question. Then, everything around Yugi had went completely white, Yugi had clenched shut his eyes, and the next thing he'd heard had been the loud voices around him.
He could finally place whom the voices belonged to. One of them was Jono's, a little bit on the hysterical side; the other belonged to Seth, it was as always calm and thoughtful, though this time underlined with worry; the third distinguishable voice belonged to the pharaoh. They were apparently talking to a healer, but Yugi had not met that person before. He was somewhat surprised that the pharaoh seemed concerned of his wellbeing. It reminded him of the person he cared for the most … Yami. But Atemu was not Yami.
Yugi felt somebody step up to his bed. The person's warm aura surrounded him. He opened his eyes when he felt somebody take his hand, and found himself peering into compassionate crimson eyes. "Yami," he whispered breathlessly and raised a hand before he could stop himself. No, that's not Yami! He suddenly realized when he saw the confused frown on the pharaoh's face. His hand fell back to his side, and he hurriedly closed his eyes, trying to stop himself from crying. He would never see Yami again.
"Yugi?" The pharaoh probed, and Yugi realized he'd never heard Atemu talk that way before. "Healer!" the pharaoh finally yelled exasperated and worried when Yugi didn't answer. Yugi didn't open his eyes and pretended to be asleep while the healer was checking him over for any additional injuries. Eventually, he really fell asleep, dreaming of a world where he and Yami both could exist. And if Yami's aura suspiciously felt like Atemu's, then Yugi failed to notice.
When Yugi woke up the next time, the first thing he saw was Jono's head. The blonde guard was lying half on top of him, fast asleep, drool running out of the corner of his mouth. His right hand twitched every once in a while, and he was mumbling: "No, Seth, stop. That's my pie. Give it back! My pie." Yugi smiled at the sight.
"Ah, I see you're finally awake" Seth interrupted the silence. He sounded relieved. "We were quite worried." The high-priest admitted, and sat down next to his boyfriend, softly shaking him awake. "The pharaoh was furious when you got hit by that spell." Seth continued to tell him. "He had the guards beheaded for treason."
Yugi looked at the floor guiltily, his smile vanishing. The pharaoh had killed innocent people. "It was not their fault that all of this happened. They did not anger his people. He shouldn't have punished them because of me."
Seth sighed, looking troubled for a moment, but didn't say anything. Jono finally woke up, yawning loudly, just to realize who he was lying on top of. He hastily got off, and looked at Yugi apologetically. Then he seemed to remember his duties, and hurried out of the room to fetch the pharaoh, who wanted to be instantly informed of Yugi's awakening.
"I've never seen you so protective of him before." Yugi stated, thinking back of Seth's strange behavior when Yugi had started criticizing the ruler's actions.
"He does what he feels is right. You shouldn't be so hard on him." Seth said, though he had averted his eyes.
Yugi frowned. "I simply think that he could do better. I want him to be the person he could be." Yugi wasn't sure if he was telling this himself or if he was trying to explain his behavior to Seth. He usually thought the best of everyone. He didn't go around criticizing, especially not in front of other people. But he couldn't help himself when concerning Atemu. He wanted the pharaoh to be like Yami had been, and always got disappointed when finding out that Atemu simply was not Yami. And this overwhelming disappointment he covered up by criticizing the ruler.
"Who is Yami?" Seth finally interrupted his thoughts, changing the subject.
"Yami?" Yugi repeated with a sinking feeling. He'd hoped they'd have forgotten about his outburst already. He really didn't want to tell them that Atemu would become Yami in the future. It would be much too complicated to explain the entire story. Even if Seth believed in magic, it would still be difficult to understand. And it was better if they didn't know about Yami.
"Who is Yami?" Yugi asked back, feigning innocence and ignorance. "I don't know any Yami. What makes you think I know a Yami?" It hurt Yugi to deny knowledge of the most important person of his life, but it couldn't be helped.
Atemu chose this moment to enter the room. "You don't know anyone by the name of Yami, then?" he wanted to know, signaling that he had overheard this part of their conversation. Yugi wondered what else he'd heard.
"I think I already made that point clear." Yugi stated grumpily, automatically responding to the pharaoh's disbelieving voice.
"Do not lie to me, Yugi!" The pharaoh retorted, sounding as angry as Yugi was beginning to feel. "Why would you have called me such, if it didn't mean anything to you!"
"Oh, believe me…" Yugi answered "I'd never call you Yami." It was supposed to be an insult, and the pharaoh seemed to have gotten the message, for Yugi could see the pure anger and hatred blazing in the crimson eyes. He would have been scared shit-less had he not been too mad to care how angry the pharaoh was.
"You insist on not telling me, then?" the pharaoh inquired, his voice dangerously low.
"I see no reason why I would need to tell you." Yugi answered, indigo eyes trying to match crimson ones in anger. The pharaoh slapped Yugi. Hard.
It hurt. Tears accumulated in Yugi's eyes but he did not cry. He would not cry in front of Atemu. Something seemed to snap inside of Yugi, his disappointment overshadowing any feelings he might have felt for the pharaoh; his love for Atemu vanishing. As one hand rose to his right cheek, he finally understood completely that this was not Yami. Atemu would and could never be Yami. And his heart broke into a million pieces.
Atemu's eyes widened at the realization of what he had done. He backed away from Yugi, stammering apologies that wouldn't have made any sense had anyone in the room made it a point to listen to it. Seth and Jono stared at the pharaoh wide-eyed and unbelievingly. Yugi didn't see or hear anything around him anymore. He just wanted to disappear. And as if his silent pleas had been answered, he could feel magic surround him, and in the blink of an eye he was gone, reappearing somewhere in the castle where he'd never been before. There, he finally allowed his tears to fall, weeping silently until he could cry no more.
Yugi!" Jono's voice shook Yugi awake.
I must have fallen asleep while crying. Yugi touched his cheeks. They were still wet. He rubbed them dry but didn't answer to Jono's call. Even if it was a childish notion, this time he wanted to be found. He didn't want to crawl out of his hiding place until there was somebody trying to coax him out. It didn't take long until that wish was fulfilled, and Jono's open and friendly face peered into the room Yugi was hiding in. It took the guard just one look to realize that Yugi needed a hug. He sat down next to the boy, and pulled him into his arms. Yugi drew in ragged breaths while clutching to Jono's clothes.
"The pharaoh is searching the entire palace for you. He is quite distressed." Jono mumbled.
"Oh really?" Yugi asked sarcastically. He could not forgive Atemu for what he had done. "He's the one doing the searching then?"
"Well, no." Jono sighed. "But he sent all of us searching for you. He had to talk to the senates of Al-Kharga, one of the lower Egypt's regions. They are quite persistent. That's why he couldn't come himself. But he is really sorry for what he has done." Jono stated.
Yugi chuckled dryly. "I believe he would be. He's probably afraid that the gods will punish him for it or something." Yugi snorted.
"No! That's not it!" Jono interjected.
Yugi cut him off before he could continue: "You can tell him not to worry. He will not feel my wrath. I could not care less about what he has done. He is the pharaoh and I'm the high priest sent from the gods to fulfill a mission."
"Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to talk to you about." Jono interrupted once again. "You see, the pharaoh-"
"Already knows about my mission?" Yugi continued. "Great! Maybe he can help me, then. The sooner I'm done here the better!"
"No! That's not what I wanted to say. Listen to me, Yugi!" Jono yelled desperately.
"I am listening, am I not?" Yugi retorted. "You're just not making any sense. What are you trying to say? Does he or does he not know of my mission, now?"
Jono sighed, trying to calm down. Then, he looked around, as if he was afraid of the pharaoh suddenly rounding the corner. "No, he doesn't know about it. But maybe the whole thing will be easier for you than you've yet realized. Maybe the pharaoh already is in love with somebody." Jono tried to explain, looking Yugi in the eye. "Do you understand what I am trying to say?"
"Do you think I am stupid, or what!" Yugi yelled in response, then calmed down and began thinking logically. "Who is it? I need to know to get working on it."
Jono sighed. "I tried to tell you but you aren't reading in-between the lines. Think of what exactly I was saying. I can't tell you the person's name. The pharaoh would know of it right away. He put up a spell when he told us about it."
"Us?" Yugi repeated. "Who else knows of it? Seth?" Jono nodded. So that's why Seth has been acting so strangely lately.
"Just promise me to see the pharaoh in a different light, Yugi. Give him a chance." Jono pleaded.
"Give him a chance?" Yugi asked unsure. Why did everyone insist on telling him that? Seth had asked for the same thing. "What do I have to do with the whole thing?" Then, Yugi laughed dryly. "Luckily, it doesn't matter what I think of the pharaoh or we would really have a problem."
"Is that so?" The pharaoh coldly announced his presence. Jono closed his eyes and groaned. Yugi looked up at Atemu unimpressed. Now that he'd stopped loving Atemu, he'd no reason to be afraid. Physical harm meant nothing to him, it could easily be endured with the god's help, and Atemu couldn't reach his soul anymore.
"Pray, tell me what you think of me." Atemu stepped slowly closer, eyes glinting in the dark.
"Sadly," Yugi began "I don't even know how to express my utter dislike of you." With some satisfaction he noticed hurt in the pharaoh's eyes. But a mask soon hid all his feelings.
"I can only say that nothing will give me greater pleasure than when I am finally allowed to leave you and your palace again." Yugi stated slowly, making sure the pharaoh heard and felt the pain of every word. Atemu just stared at him blankly.
Yugi rose from the floor, ignoring Jono's silent pleas to stop. "There is no person in this world that I could ever dislike more than I dislike you, pharaoh. And now that you might finally understand the agonies that I go through every time that I am close to your arrogant being, I am quite sure you'll do anything in your power to make sure we will so soon not meet again" Yugi knew the moment he'd finished that he'd crossed the line, and so he hastily left the room as long as the pharaoh was still trying to comprehend what he'd said, for he was sure he'd be killed once the pharaoh had awoken from his shock.
Yugi went back to his room and sealed it shut with some of his magic. To his surprise, though, nobody tried to enter his room to inform him of his punishment. Some servants brought him food, it was sent on Seth's orders Yugi found out, and that's why Yugi chose to remain in his room for the next few days, reading some of the scrolls he'd previously taken out of the library, and thinking about what he'd told Atemu. He should have never told the pharaoh something like that. It had been wrong and unforgivingly rude. He'd been in no position to talk to Atemu like that, no matter how the pharaoh had treated him. Yugi felt extremely guilty and thought about a way to make it up to the pharaoh. What did Jono say about Atemu being in love? Who could he be in love with? Maybe if I find out I could help him with her and that way earn Atemu's forgiveness. No wonder Yami wanted to leave for the After Life. He finally remembered how I treated him in the past. Atemu probably loathes me now.
Yugi sighed, while staring at the closest wall. He was getting bored. He'd been sitting on this highly uncomfortable Egyptian bed for about a week. Actually, it might have been even longer. It was difficult to remember when doing nothing and seeing nobody. A pout rose to Yugi's face as he bent over and grabbed one of the scrolls that he was currently looking through. As a matter of fact he'd read this one before, but he didn't dare leaving his room yet afraid of meeting the pharaoh. He hadn't heard anything of him since the fiasco of their last meeting, and hoped to keep it that way as long as possible in fear of what might happen. He hadn't seen Seth or Jono either; apparently they were kept quite busy. Yugi somewhat suspected that the pharaoh ordered them around on purpose, to punish them for what he had done, and therefore indirectly punish him as well.
Yugi pouted again when remembering how strange the slave that had brought him his last meal had acted when he'd asked for Seth and Jono. It had been as if he'd known something but didn't dare talking about it. Yugi just hoped that nothing bad had happened to them. Surely, the pharaoh wouldn't have killed them just because of what he had said, would he?
"Bakamono!" Yugi scolded himself in his native language. It meant idiot. He always started talking Japanese when he was alone. Only when he was talking to somebody from Ancient Egypt, then he would be able to speak the Egyptian language fluently.
"You had to go and ruin the only chance of getting him to sacrifice his soul! He'll never talk to you again! He is probably thinking of a way to get rid of you!" Yugi had picked up the habit of talking to himself. Why bother just thinking it when nobody was around to listen to him anyways? It was actually quite entertaining and relieving. Nobody was talking back.
His monologue was cut short by a curt knock on his door. "Come in!" Yugi yelled, standing up to prepare himself for whatever was to come. It was too early for a slave to be bringing him supper. Had the pharaoh made a decision?
Seth entered. His face looked paler than usual, and his aura felt exhausted. Yugi was worried instantly. "Are you alright, Seth? Maybe you better sit down and rest." He began to gently push Seth in the direction of his bed, and closed the door behind his friend.
"I don't have much time." Seth protested, as Yugi made him sit down. His voice sounded hoarse, as if it had been used a lot lately. It was unusual for the quiet and thoughtful high priest. He hardly ever talked, and when he did, then he never raised his voice. What had happened?
Yugi filled a goblet with water, and handed it to the high priest. "What brings you here, Seth?" he inquired. "I haven't seen you for the past few days."
Seth nodded. "I've been kept busy." He sat down the now empty goblet, and looked around. "You haven't been out of your room for quite some time I've been told." This time it was Yugi who nodded.
"Maybe it is time for a change of scenery, don't you think?" Seth asked softly.
"What do you mean?" Yugi wanted to know, panicking slightly. "Is his highness throwing me out of his castle?"
"Hmm, what?" Seth turned around to finally look at Yugi. "No!" Then he sighed, one of his hands rubbing his temples. After some time, he said: "You've got to do me a favor."
Yugi smiled. He'd always help out a friend. "Sure! Just tell me what you want me to do." He sat down next to Seth, fixing his gaze on him.
"After…after you shouted at the pharaoh..." Seth finally began. Yugi frowned, and encouraged his friend to continue. He was quite curious as to what had happened.
"After you shouted at his highness, he did pretty much the same thing you did." Seth continued, though a frown was sat on his face as he tried to find the right words to explain everything.
"What are you talking about?" Yugi asked.
"He locked himself in as well. He hasn't come out of his rooms ever since you two had that encounter. I've been substituting him all this time, talking to foreign ambassadors, signing contracts and other papers that I'm allowed to sign in his place. He won't talk to me or open the door. My millennium rod can't break the magic that his puzzle has woven around his chambers. You've got to try to talk to him!" Seth fully turned to face Yugi, taking the smaller in a tight embrace, and begged: "Please help me, Yugi! I don't know what to do anymore. He can't have much food left in his room. Who knows, maybe he's already starving in there but he won't open for anybody. You're probably the only one that can get through to him."
"Me?" Yugi wondered. "Seth, what in the name of Ra makes you think something like that? I would have thought I'd be the last person you would ask something like that. You know how I get around him, and I'm sure he despises me by now. Why should he ever open his door because of me?"
"I... I can't tell you why I think he'll open his doors for you but please, Yugi, please give it a try?" Seth loosened his grip on Yugi, and imitated Jono's puppy eyes. Yugi found himself giggling without even wanting to. Seth sure looked funny when trying to be cute.
"You should have sent in Jono. He's much better in this than you are." Yugi murmured.
Seth smiled somewhat sheepishly. "Yes, you are probably right, your holiness, but I thought me trying to do this might leave a lasting impression.
Yugi laughed. "Yes, you're right. It did. And if you promise me to show me this face again once I get back, then I'll try to talk to the pharaoh. Do we have a deal?" He didn't really believe in any success when talking to Atemu. Surely, the pharaoh wouldn't open for him when he opened for nobody else. Though it was somewhat weird that he had locked himself in just because of what he'd said. Atemu hadn't had any reason for such a reaction, had he?
Seth readily agreed, locking really relieved. "Thank you, Yugi. I owe you for that. Now I've got to go back. The pharaoh's counselors want to talk to my cousin, and I somehow have to get rid of them." He got up, his face losing the color that he'd gotten back in his short break. He opened the door and was about to leave, when he remembered: "Oh, and please Yugi…try to not upset him this time. I really can't substitute him for much longer." Then, the high priest left Yugi alone to his confused thoughts.
Yugi quickly took a bath (meaning, he sprinkled some water on himself; it would have taken much too long had he asked a servant to fill his tub with warm water). Then, he put on fresh clothes, and left his room in search of the pharaoh's chambers. He bumped into Jono as he was rounding a corner. Apparently, Seth had sent the head guard to show him the way to Atemu's confines. Jono stammered some encouraging words, and then left him standing alone in front of the pharaoh's door. On the brown wood the Sennen eye was carved, and Yugi traced it for a moment, lost in thought. This door was similar to Yami's in his soul room.
Then, he noticed the spells that had been put up to keep out intruders. He frowned as he analyzed them, he could feel despair clinging to each and every spell. What had happened?
Finally, he cast a glance around and realized to his relief that Seth had called off all the guards that previously must have guarded this door. It appeared as if the high priest had wanted to make is as comfortable for him as possible.
Yugi wondered how he should begin. Joey would have started with a "Yo, pharaoh!", but that wasn't Yugi's style. So he called out a simple "pharaoh?", and waited for an answer. Nothing happened. Maybe he didn't hear me? Yugi tried again, this time a little bit louder. Still no answer.
Yugi sighed. He knew when he was not wanted. Usually, he would have given up by now. He liked to help others, but he wasn't very persistent. Obviously, the pharaoh didn't want to talk to him. What a surprise! Yugi snorted, and thought about walking away. No! I promised Seth I would try, and I'm keeping my promise.
He put up his hands on the door again, and analyzed the spells once more, considering if he could break them or not. Would the gods allow him to enter the pharaoh's rooms? No, his spells are much too powerful. My own magic is no use in this case. Yugi pouted angrily. What use are my powers for anyways? I can't enter his room, I almost killed myself when taking the spell aimed for him,… So far the magic I possess has done nothing but harm.
He continued standing in front of Atemu's door, thinking about what to do. Finally, he decided to give it one more try. If I can't get him out by calling him pharaoh, then I'll just have to call him something that will get him angry enough to open that door, ne? An evil smile appeared on Yugi's face. Well, as evil as any smile on his face could appear. Bakura would have laughed his head off, had he seen Yugi's expression.
"A…Atemu!" Yugi finally hollered, making sure that the pharaoh would hear him, no matter where in his rooms he was at. Actually, Yugi was quite sure the entire palace had heard him. He closed his eyes in frustration. This would probably not have a happy ending.
Nothing happened. No mad pharaoh threw open the doors and banished him to the shadow realms, no Seth came running, ready to scold him for doing the unforgiving thing of calling the pharaoh by his real name, no concubine Teana came running to see him fail with glee. Nothing happened. Yugi declared defeat. There was nothing else he could do. If the palace guards hadn't succeeded in breaking down the door, then he would surely not have a different effect, and therefore, he could as well leave.
Yugi turned around, now somewhat disappointed that he hadn't been of any help to Seth, and was just about to walk away, when he suddenly felt the spells on the door disappear. He spun back to face the door once again, and stared at it intently. It didn't move one bit. But he was sure the spells had been removed. Why, he wondered silently, stepping back to the door. Am I supposed to enter?
His hand touched the wood in front of him, it felt warm. The door opened and allowed Yugi to enter. The young hikari followed the invitation. As soon as he'd stepped inside, the door shut itself again, and the seals were put back up. Yugi stared at the door for some time, feeling somewhat uncomfortable. He was locked in.
Then, Yugi turned around, feeling suddenly extremely nervous, and began looking for the pharaoh. Well, he's not in this room, that's for sure. Yugi might have admired the beautifully decorated chair, table, and the many gold ornaments that were strewn about the room, had he not been to preoccupied. Right in front of him was a big bed, twice as large as his own (and he'd gotten a double-bed already). He was sure that at least ten people could comfortably sleep in this bed if they wanted to. The bed was unmade, a signal that it had been occupied just moments before.
He walked around the bed to the door closest to him. Inside of the next room it was pitch-dark. Yugi could hardly see his hand in front of his eyes. He waited a few seconds for his eyes to adjust. When he could finally make out the outlines of some of the objects in the room, he began to move forward, his hands flailing out to keep himself from running into things. Finally, when he had reached the middle of the room, he remembered a candle in the other room, and he made his way back to fetch it. He wouldn't have found the pharaoh in the darkness anyways. Once he was armed with a lit candle, he reentered the room, only to have his candle extinguished right away. Yugi frowned at the candle. Atemu had used a spell to blow it out.
With a motion of his hand, Yugi lit the candle once again. One of Atemu's spells blew it out again. They continued this game for quite some time, until Yugi finally resigned himself to his fate. The candle would not help him. He put it back down in Atemu's bed-room.
Once he had reentered the dark room, he went down on all four, hoping all the time that he wouldn't run into big, ugly spiders (he was kind of afraid of spiders). He crawled around, carefully avoiding any hard objects, and grabbing for the pharaoh in the dark. Finally, he reached something soft. Wondering if it was just a pillow or if he had really found the pharaoh, though he had not yet figured out what Atemu was doing in this room, he began to move closer. The thing in front of him was breathing. Either it is him or he keeps an animal in his room.
"Pharaoh?" Yugi asked softly, his voice hardly above a whisper. No answer. Yugi pouted. This game was getting old and began to annoy him. Yugi sighed, and sat down next to Atemu, waiting for something to happen.
After about five minutes his patience was running thin, and he decided to change his tactics. "Can't we go back to the other room? I really don't like the dark." He hoped that this would provoke the pharaoh to at least do something. Apparently I was wrong, Yugi thought when no reaction followed once again. He began to think that maybe this was not Atemu after all, and got up again to continue with his search for the pharaoh.
Suddenly, something grabbed his leg. Yugi stopped dead and was about to scream, when he heard Atemu say: "Don't go." His foot was released immediately, and Yugi resumed his place next to the pharaoh. They were silent for some time once again.
"Do you like the dark?" Yugi finally asked. Silence answered him. Yugi sighed.
"Why do you want me to stay if you're not going to say anything?" Yugi began once again. Nothing. I might as well talk to a wall.
"Onegai?" Yugi finally pleaded. Just say something.
"What language is that?" the pharaoh finally inquired. Yugi noticed how close to Atemu's face he was. He could feel the warm breath on his left cheek.
"Japanese." Yugi whispered.
"What does it mean." The pharaoh wanted to know. He could feel the form next to him change his position.
"It means please." Yugi answered, glad that Atemu had finally said something.
They sat in silence for about another five minutes. "Why did you come?" Atemu finally inquired, his breath once again skating across Yugi's skin. Yugi got Goosebumps.
"They are worried about you, pharaoh." Yugi answered, though it did not really explain why he had come.
"And you? Are you worried?" the pharaoh wanted to know, changing position again. Yugi could feel his body heat. The pharaoh's aura was surrounding his own. Then, he realized the thin threads of magic surrounding him, checking him over, and trying to enter his soul. Atemu was trying to read his mind. Yugi glared at the darkness angrily, and got up abruptly, shaking of any of the remaining shadows that the pharaoh had used.
"Well, apparently, you're still well enough." Yugi hissed, as he moved away from the pharaoh, hitting one of the things that had been put in this room.
"Don't go!" The pharaoh yelled. But it was no order. It had actually sounded quite desperate.
"Why not?" Yugi answered heatedly. "So you can continue to try invading my mind?"
"Y-you felt it?" the pharaoh whispered.
"Yes, I did." Yugi stated, willing his voice to sound cold. "What were you looking for anyways. I should have thought you knew by now that I am not lying. I always speak what I am thinking. There was no need for you to try to read my mind." Well, I don't always say what I am thinking but I've so far told Atemu what I've been thinking about him.
"That's what I feared." The pharaoh stated, sounding lost in his thoughts. Yugi dimly realized that he had never heard the pharaoh speak like that before. During their entire discussion, he had always been able to feel some of Atemu's emotions. That had never happened before.
"Do you really hate me?" Atemu finally wanted to know, his voice sounding as if he was begging Yugi to say no. Yugi considered the question, not because he thought he might hate Atemu but because he didn't understand the pharaoh's reason for asking. Why did he want to know that of all things?
"Yugi?" Atemu asked, thinking the other had not heard him.
"I don't hate anybody." Yugi stated. He knew that to be true. He hadn't even be able to hate his adversaries in the past.
"But you… you dislike me more than anybody else." Atemu stated forlornly.
Yugi felt guilty immediately. "People say stupid things when they are angry." Yugi told the pharaoh, hoping this would get the other in a better mood again. Why was his opinion so important anyways? Atemu shouldn't care at all. He had always been so indifferent towards him.
"You've never said anything stupid." Atemu retorted.
Yugi frowned. "What about my suggestion for the treatment of possible criminals?" He asked, trying to prove to Atemu that he did often do and say stupid things. Right now is probably another example. Why am I trying to show to him that I didn't mean it when I know that I really meant it? After all, I don't like the way he treats people. "You called it an immature suggestion that only people could make who didn't have a clue about ruling a country, if I remember your words correctly."
"I ordered your suggestion to be executed." Atemu uttered.
"You…you did?" Yugi exclaimed confused. "But why? You hated it when I suggested it."
"I pretended." Atemu whispered. Yugi looked in the direction of where he presumed the pharaoh to be at with complete astonishment shining upon his face. They didn't talk for another few minutes.
"I…I know you can do better." Yugi finally confessed. "That's why I am always criticizing you." And he had really always criticized the ruler. When they had first entered the city, Yugi had for example declared it to be a dump. He had not really understood why Seth had been looking at him wide-eyed, until he was informed that this was the city the palace was in. Then, he had wisely kept quiet, although there were quite a few things he would have wanted Atemu to change about it. For example, there had only been one well in every district. Some women had to walk for at least two hours to get water home. The pharaoh had been in an extremely bad mood after this short ride through the city. Yugi had always suspected that his scowls had been a little bit too obvious for the pharaoh to see. Now that he thought about it, hadn't he seen quite a few wells on their last excursion to the city? He had been too preoccupied to really notice, but he was quite sure that the pharaoh had added a few wells.
Then, there had been this ceremony to honor the gods. Yugi had overheard Atemu ordering a banquet for the richer people of his land. After a long talk (not that Atemu had been talking very much. Mostly he had just yelled at Yugi to stop asking for something this preposterous, while Yugi had been telling at him that he was heart-less.), which resulted in Atemu banishing Yugi from the throne room, the pharaoh had decided that there would be no specific banquet for the richer part of his population; instead he would offer something to eat for everybody who attended the ritual.
Yugi could have named at least another few incidents that showed him criticizing the ruler, hadn't he more important things to think about, like…how to get the pharaoh to see his point of view.
"I just want you to be the person I know you could be." Yugi finally stated, somewhat at a loss for words, still thinking about a better way to show the pharaoh what his real intention had always been.
Before Atemu could respond anything or Yugi could come up with something else to say, Seth, Mahado and Karim entered the room, and immediately surrounded the pharaoh, who slowly rose from his spot on the floor. Yugi could see how the mask was put up again, though it didn't happen fast enough to hide the pharaoh's annoyance and disappointment at being interrupted, as Atemu was led out of the room.
While Seth was trying to fill in his cousin on all that had happened in his absence, Yugi silently crept out of the pharaoh's chambers, feeling quite out of place now that the pharaoh was back to his old self. It almost seemed as if their little talk had never happened.
Well, I suppose it's for the best, Yugi thought on the way back to his room.
"Bluah heee leaaht yin hioom." Jono said, while chewing on a large piece of meat.
"Hmm?" Yugi raised his head from the table, and looked at the guard questionably. He hadn't understood a word.
Jono cleared his throat. "But he let you in his room. That's gotta be a sign, doesn't it?" Jono took another bite. Yugi had finished his meal about an hour ago, but then again, Jono ate about three times as much as Yugi did.
"I suppose it is strange." Yugi admitted. "I don't understand why he would let me in when he didn't want to talk to anybody else."
"He didn't tell you?" Jono asked surprised.
"Tell me what?" Yugi asked back somewhat suspiciously.
"Oh, nothing, nothing." Jono smiled sheepishly, his ears turning slightly red, as they always did when he lied.
Yugi growled softly under his breath. It was beginning to annoy him that everybody seemed to know more about the pharaoh's reasons than he himself. Then he wanted to know: "Does it have anything to do with the person he is supposedly in love with?"
"What do you mean, supposedly?" Jono wondered, in-between some of his bites.
"Well…" Yugi sighed, considering about how he wanted to explain his thoughts to the blonde. "I just haven't noticed any change in his behavior. Don't you think that if he really was in love with somebody, he would somehow try to show it? I mean…" Yugi frowned, how to put it in words? "I've never seen him partial to any of the people he talks with, and you know I've kept my eye on him all the time. He's still the soulless puppet that I got to know when he picked me up." Yugi sighed; somehow the words didn't come out right. He didn't know how to explain his feelings. "I always thought the pharaoh would get more open when falling in love. I always thought there would be some change of behavior." I thought he would become more like Yami. Yugi stopped his train of thought right there.
"Oh, forget it." Yugi finally mumbled to Jono, who had tilted his head and was trying to see through the mystery called Yugi's thoughts.
"Maybe he just needs some time. Nobody changes just from one day to the next." Jono finally stated.
Yugi smiled at him softly. That was about the smartest thing he'd ever heard from his friend. Maybe, just maybe, there was still hope.
"Well, I'm done. Wanna go and annoy Seth? He's usually in his temple at this time of the day." Jono grinned broadly, pushing his plate away from him, and leaning back on his chair satisfied.
Yugi simply chuckled, and shrugged his shoulders. "If you want to." Maybe he could get something out of Seth, though, honestly, he doubted it. There was a greater chance of convincing the Nile to flow in a different direction, than getting high priest Seth to break his word. But maybe Seth could tell him some things about Atemu's strange behavior that he wasn't forbidden to tell about. Like, why the pharaoh was sitting in the dark, why he hadn't wanted Yugi to leave, why he seemed to care for Yugi's opinion, when on the other hand he never cared for anybody.
-To be continued-
Thank you for reading this long chapter (I probably won't ever put up something that long again)! I hope that you still like it and that I'll get some reviews for it. It's really depressing that all my reviews are gone now that I had to put it up as a new story. I'm trying to get up the next chapter as soon as possible.
Thank you for your reviews so far! Apparently I'm not allowed to answer them in the story anymore, so don't be mad at me if you won't get a response right away. I'm thinking about a way to thank you for your kind words though.