Title: Miracles of Egypt
Author: Usagi slight angst, romance, lemon, SPOILERS for the end of the manga
Pairings: Atemu x Yuugi
Criticism: Constructive criticism welcomed
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, I don't make any money from fanfiction.
Description: Just before he is supposed to depart to the underworld, Atemu learns something surprising about his past and realizes a little secret Yuugi did not tell him. And if that is not enough, in the last hours before their separation, Atemu, Yuugi and the gang meet someone new. Someone surprisingly familiar.
Thanks to my betareaders Deb and Elsalhir for the usual quick work.
Egyptian Names and their meanings:
Djed-ra-iu-ef-anch (Ra says that he may live)
"Aibou, stand up! What kind of a winner would you be, kneeling on the ground like this?"
Atemu, soul of the Sennen puzzle, smiled down at his crying aibou, holding out his hand. Tears still flowing down his cheeks, Yuugi took the offered hand with a heavy heart.
He had known this day would come. He had known since the moment he began to realize that his other half had not just been a part of himself but a whole unique being. A soul of a living person, long gone.
In the beginning he'd tried to ignore that fact. He thought if he just told himself often enough that the soul in the puzzle was another piece of himself, if they just never got his memories back, his other would stay by his side forever.
But that hope had slowly vanished. As much as he wished and craved for his other to be with him forever he didn't have the heart to keep Yami no Yuugi from searching for his memory. To solve the question of who he was.
The day when they dueled against Pandora, when he talked to Malik for the first time, that day he'd realized how selfish his actions had been. And he threw his own wishes away, decided to help his other with everything he had to gain back the lost memories.
Yuugi had known the moment he made that fateful decision, that this day would come. They both had known it. And feared it. But it had been unavoidable. A fact that didn't make it less painful though.
This was it.
Mutou Yuugi looked into the eyes of the person he had called 'mou hitori no boku' for so long. They were the same height now, he noticed. In the past he had been slightly smaller than the former pharaoh. There had been a lot of differences between them in the beginning.
But things changed, just like his height. Shy, little Yuugi, lonely and without any friends, was long gone. In his place had come a selfless, confident, teen with a huge group of wonderful, supportive friends. And most importantly, he could stand on his own now.
But the price he had to pay was nearly unbearable. He had to part from the one person, who meant everything to him.
"Mou hitori no boku," he whispered sadly, but the other silenced him with a shake of his head and that soft, proud smile still playing around his lips.
"I am not 'mou hitori no boku' anymore," he chided gently. "There is only one Mutou Yuugi in this world. You are an unique being, never forget that."
"Yes," Yuugi sighed, his heart feeling heavier with every second.
It was Isis who broke the moment between the two young men. She stepped forward bowing her head slightly.
"Before you take the last step, there is one more thing we gravekeepers are supposed to show you," she explained.
"Something more?" Atemu asked, surprised, glancing at his aibou in bewilderment. Yuugi was also taken by surprise. He dried his tears and glanced from Isis to Atemu and back.
"Not far from here are the ruins of a small town. That is the last place we have to show you before we return to this place, my pharaoh," Isis explained and gestured with her hand to the exit.
Atemu glanced at Yuugi and they both nodded, wordlessly coming to a decision. They walked back to their group of friends and Yuugi's jii-chan. When the others noticed that Yuugi and Atemu still remained as two beings, Jonouchi raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Isn't mou hitori no Yuugi supposed to vanish back into the puzzle now that he is no longer dueling?" he asked, confused. "I mean, no offense, but you are a spirit, aren't you?"
"No offense taken, Jonouchi," Atemu replied smirking. But it was Malik who answered the question.
"Well, the gods granted our pharaoh a solidified soul so he could play his last game against the chosen one. It's not a real body of flesh and blood, but he was able to hold his cards and be seen. Now, after the end of the game until the moment of his departure they allow him to stay in this from. It makes things easier."
The young Egyptian smiled and followed his sister who had started to head for the exit. It was afternoon and the sun shone down on the sands of Egypt mercilessly. The walk to the ruins Isis had mentioned was silent. The friends were either wondering what the female gravekeeper would show them next, or still coping with the fact that Atemu had lost his duel and would soon leave them forever.
Sugoroku Mutou glanced over to his grandson who was walking beside the former pharaoh, each step matching the one the solidified spirit made. The old man was worried about the teen. He'd known Yuugi long enough to know that his grandson was devastated by the idea of losing his other forever.
He also noted that during the time after Atemu got his memories back and the day the card of the Ishtar's arrived, something else about the young Mutou had changed. It was something he was not able to describe. Yuugi's friends hadn't even realized it and he was not sure if the pharaoh had. It was something only one who had known the teen all his life was able to recognize at all. And even he, his jii-chan had barely noticed it.
The old man had a feeling that whatever had happened had something to do with the pharaoh, but he never got the chance to ask his grandson and he wasn't even sure if he ever should.
The group was now half way to their goal when they meet the Kaiba brothers. Seto and Mokuba had taken a private helicopter to get there. It seemed the younger Kaiba, after learning about their journey to Egypt, had been able to persuade his brother get here and see the outcome of this fateful trip.
Jonouchi even started to taunt the older Kaiba that Seto was curious himself who would turn out as the winner in the last duel, so he would know what opponent to expect in the next tournament. Yuugi and Atemu didn't point out that Seto's furious silence over their best friend's comment was just proving the blonde right. They just inconspicuously glanced at each other and grinned in silent understanding.
Finally the little group arrived at the ruins Isis had mentioned. There was not much left of the place that was once a town in the ancient times. Stone pavements, some half standing walls and pillars were the only remains.
Yuugi's eyes widened considerably when he looked over some of the carvings and paintings which still adorned the ruins. But Atemu was the only one who noted the sudden, strange reaction of his aibou. He wanted to ask the teen what was wrong, but Anzu prevented his actions by pointing to a place at the other end of the ruins.
"Look, there are tents and people!" she said, surprised to find some other living beings this far away from civilization.
"Caravans," Rishido answered calmly, not the slightest bit surprised. "There are some breeder families who stuck to traveling with their animals through the desert from one oasis to the next. There is one family who is even quite famous for their beautiful horses. They are one of the last old nobles from this country."
"And they are really rich," Malik added slightly offended. "Damn they could afford ten or more motorbikes if they wanted and that's not even half of the money they have."
His sister Isis whacked her brother over his head.
"It's not as if you couldn't afford that many motorbikes if I didn't forbid you," she commented dryly. Malik struck out his tongue and pouted while the others laughed about the display of the siblings.
"We are here!" Isis suddenly exclaimed and came to a halt. In front of her was a small hole, just big enough for a human to pass through. A small stone staircase led into darkness.
Jonouchi, who was standing just behind Atemu, looked over the spirit's shoulder into the darkness and swallowed.
"Is that a grave?" he asked, a little bit disturbed.
"Afraid?" Seto immediately taunted the blonde who bared his teeth in anger.
"Of course not!" he snapped at the CEO. The next fight between those two seemed to be obvious, but Isis prevented further damage by answering Jonouchi's question.
"No, it's not a grave. It's a memorial place for you, my pharaoh."
"A memorial place for me?" Atemu asked surprised. "And Isis, please call me Atemu. I have a name now, I was a pharaoh 3000 years ago. I feel funny being titled as such in a world as modern as this."
He grinned sheepishly and the young women nodded with a smile.
"Well then, Atemu, this place holds some carvings of the most important people and events from your life," she continued to explain further. "You may wonder why I am supposed to show this to you since you've already gotten your memories back, but... there are some things you still don't remember, am I right?"
Atemu nodded a little.
"Yeah, I mostly remember the time when my people were threatened," he sighed. "I know who I am, I remember my friends and parents from back then and the reason why my soul was imprisoned in the Sennen Puzzle. But not really much of what happened before that time, before I became pharaoh."
"I thought so," Isis replied with a nod. "You will get all of your memories back when you step into the underworld, but there is one little thing which would come as a shock if you had to remember it only then and not before you leave. This is why we are supposed to show you now. Please follow me!"
And with this said, she climbed into the hole and slowly went down the steps of stone. The others followed her one by one, even Mokuba and Seto, although the older looked less enthusiastic than his excited younger brother.
Atemu and Yuugi were the last to climb down the hole, but when the former pharaoh turned towards the entrance of the memorial, he noticed that Yuugi was not following.
"Aibou?" the spirit asked surprised. Yuugi had a look of deep sadness on his face and shook his head slightly.
"I'm sorry Atemu, but I don't want to go down there," he said. "I don't feel so well. I guess it won't do me any good right now to sneak around in a dark cavern of all places. I would prefer to wait for you out in the sun and look around this place while you are gone, is that okay?"
Atemu eyed his aibou carefully. He could see Yuugi was telling the truth but at the same time he was not. But since the others were waiting for him down there, he decided to let it go for now and ask the teen later about the real reasons behind him not feeling well.
"All right, aibou, you stay here while I find out what's going on down there. But be careful, okay?"
"You know I will," Yuugi replied with a small smile. He watched his other climb down the stairs and vanish into darkness. Then he turned and started strolling through the ruins.
Meanwhile, the former pharaoh reached the end of the stairs where his friends and Yuugi's jii-chan were already waiting for him, most of them holding lightened torches in their hands.
"Where's Yuugi?" Ryou asked and the spirit shook his head, slightly worried.
"He didn't feel very well," he explained his friends. "He wanted to stay outside. He wants to look around the ruins while we are here."
"Oh," was all his friends got out. Most of them showed worry for their friend now. Everyone started to realize that there was something they were missing right now.
In silence the group began their slow walk through the cavern. The passage was small and they had to go behind each other in a line. When the long passage finally ended, they found themselves in a huge room far under the earth.
Gasps escaped most of the teens when their light lit the room and they looked at the carvings and paintings on the walls. They were beautiful, and obvious the work of an ancient Egyptian artist. For a moment the worry for Yuugi was forgotten.
Atemu walked around, regarding each painting closely, trying to connect the shown scenes with a memory. Suddenly Malik let out a gasp and almost knocked everyone over.
"Isis, is this what you meant?" he asked his sister as she looked over the paintings. The oldest Ishtar nodded with a smile. Atemu, now curious, came over and lit the wall with his torch. What he saw, nearly caused him to lose his voice in shock.
In the picture was himself, he was sitting on his throne and beside him stood a young male, a sword in his hand and obviously defending his pharaoh against an enemy. This bodyguard didn't seem to be as old as him, as far as he could tell from the painting. And he had the same looks, the same hairstyle. He heard the others gasp when realization hit them.
"Yuugi!" Honda exclaimed in astonishment.
"But how?" Otogi asked, just a shocked as the others. Atemu was silent. Still slightly in shock he examined the paintings further. There was one of him watching Yuugi taming a horse and another one where his aibou was practicing sword fighting with Seto.
The CEO grunted disgruntedly when Mokuba noticed that picture and recognized his brother immediately. The next painting Atemu saw was one of him and Yuugi horse riding. Then he discovered the most shocking painting of them all. Yuugi and him standing right beside a bed, arms around each other and kissing.
This time the former pharaoh couldn't suppress the gasp that escaped his lips. Isis noticed what the spirit saw and decided it was finally time for an explanation.
"As you may have already realized by looking at the paintings," she started, referring to the shocked spirit. "Yuugi is a part of your past. Just as mister Kaiba had been one of your most trusted priests, Yuugi had been your most trusted bodyguard. He was good with the sword, a very skilled rider and surprisingly a good dancer."
"Why would Yuugi have to dance?" Jonouchi burst out, amused at the idea of Yuugi in a dancing costume.
"For cover," Isis explained with a smile. "He was just as short as the pharaoh and as you may know, sometimes looks can be deceiving. So when someone new arrived at the court, someone the priests didn't know if they could trust, Yuugi would play one of the male dancers. Every foreigner would think he was just a cute dancer who was not to be feared. But he had very sharp eyes and if he noticed any threat to his pharaoh before the priestess Ishizu did, he would immediately be at his pharaoh's side, defending his life."
Most of the friends now had wide eyes and open mouths, staring at Isis in disbelief.
"Somehow I can not feel really surprised," Sugoroku Mutou muttered and went back to looking at the paintings with interest. "There is more behind the relationship between Pharaoh Atemu and Yuugi though?"
"There is," Isis confirmed with a smile. "The pharaoh and Yuugi had been lovers."
"I would never have noticed," Seto snorted. His little brother hit him in the side with an elbow.
"Nii-sama!" he whined and Seto's face softened slightly.
"The documents our family hosted didn't tell much though," the oldest Ishtar continued with regret in her voice. "I know he was a bodyguard, what he could do and that he was also the lover of the nameless pharaoh. But nothing else was told there, not even the name, just like it had been with Atemu."
"Heba," the former pharaoh suddenly whispered to everyone's surprise. "His past name was Heba."
"That means 'Game', doesn't it?" Malik asked with a raised eyebrow and grinned. "How fitting."
Atemu just nodded thoughtfully.
"This is what I am supposed to know before I leave?" he finally asked while regarding the painting of him and Yuugi kissing.
"Yes, this is what you should know before you leave," Isis confirmed. "Yuugi is alive after all and I guess you should have the chance to sort out your past relationship with him and tell him anything you need to before you two are parted until the end of Yuugi's life."
"I see," the spirit said, eyes distant. He continued looking over some more paintings, his thoughts far away. His friends tried to get over their current shock and out of curiosity they too regarded various paintings, hoping to find some more with Atemu and Yuugi on them.
It took a long time before the former pharaoh decided that he had finally seen enough. With the others agreement they began their long walk back to the exit of the memorial place.
It was around the time they climbed up the stairs that Jonouchi seemed to have finally gotten over his shock and started talking.
"Could you guys believe that Yuugi had been Atemu's bodyguard?" he started, disbelief still in his voice. "Yuugi once told me that he hated to fight and he should be able to fight with a sword?"
Atemu listened to the blonde's comments with half an ear. He was looking for a sign of Yuugi within the ruins. Hearing some strange whinnying noise and seeing shadows moving not far away, the spirit decided to find out what was going on and if Yuugi was there.
The others followed the spirit without words, most of them tuning out the talking of Yuugi's best friend who still continued to compare the Yuugi they all knew with the one of the past.
"I mean, honestly, can you even imagine Yuugi riding a ho..." the rest of Jonouchi's sentence died in his throat at the sight that greeted him. Right before the friends very eyes was Yuugi, sitting on a black horse which was bucking and whinnying angrily, trying to throw the small built teen off its back, but not succeeding.
With an open mouth Jonouchi witnessed how Yuugi sat calmly on the big beast as if it was a normal chair. In the end the horse became too tired to continue its fight against its rider and he let himself fall to the ground exhausted. It was also the moment the blonde remembered to close his mouth.
Yuugi recognized his friends when he was dismounting from the horse's back.
"Hey guys, you are already back?" he asked in surprise. Atemu was the only one who seemed less shocked than the others. The former pharaoh smiled, a mix of sadness and pride.
"I see now why you didn't wish to come with us. You remembered," he simply stated. Hearing this calm accusation, Yuugi's eyes widened before he quickly hid his face behind his bangs. Before any kind of explanations could further be stated, the friends attention was interrupted by the loud voices of two men, who stood next to the now exhausted, black mare.
"You were the idiot who promised the kid to give him the horse if he was able to tame it!" a dark tanned, black haired man screamed at the other.
"But it was just a joke," the other man with a long black beard and hair defended himself. "I never thought he would be able to tame it. And the horses are not ours anyway. We CAN'T give him the horse!"
"It was a promise, you jackass!" the other screamed in anger. "It's all your damn fault! Besides, you know the rule of our master: Always stay true to your word!"
"You... WON the horse?" Yuugi's jii-chan asked his grandson in disbelief. The delicate built teen blushed and nodded.
"It was a bet. If I could tame the horse it would be mine. Isn't it beautiful?" he asked with a small smile, glancing over at the exhausted mare.
"Beautiful," Atemu breathed his agreement examining the well built body of the animal. "A noble horse. Its blood must be quite expensive."
"But I think it still needs to be cleared if the horse really belongs to you now, Yuugi," Isis broke in, regarding the two, still shouting men. The one with the black beard suddenly looked over to Yuugi, his eyes blazing.
"YOU! This was all a trick!" he accused. "You knew you would win, you cheated! This horse will not belong to you."
"You DARE to accuse my aibou of cheating!" Atemu growled, rage glowing in his own, sharp eyes now. He was just about to walk up to the other man, when a voice suddenly interrupted the upcoming fight.
"What's going on?"
Both man stiffened at hearing that voice. They whirled around and bowed to the person who had suddenly appeared.
"Master, forgive us our foolishness," the dark skinned man pleaded hastily. "It's all Ramses' fault! We were trying to tame the mare as you instructed when suddenly this boy appeared and watched. I am sure he didn't mean any harm but when Ramses fell from the horse he got angry and..."
He was interrupted when the man called Ramses cut in angrily.
"He LAUGHED at me!" he shouted, pointing a finger at Yuugi. Atemu bristled and Yuugi's eyebrows knitted together.
"I didn't laugh," he objected. "I even asked if everything was all right but you didn't want to hear anything of it."
The other man nodded in agreement and continued to tell his story.
"Ramses was angry and he challenged the boy to see if he could do it any better. We were both surprised when he accepted. Ramses thought this was very funny and he said if the boy was able to tame the horse it would be his."
He glared at the other man angrily.
"The boy actually DID tame the mare. He may not look like it, but he is an excellent rider. The mare had not a chance to get rid of him. And now Ramses is bound to a promise he can't keep."
"I see," the newcomer said calmly and he looked over to the group of friends with Yuugi in the middle. Yuugi was looking right back, inspecting the foreigner with a slight curiosity.
It was a man, obvious by his voice. He seemed to wear typical Egyptian desert clothes similar to the dress Isis currently wore. Some bracelets on his upper arms glinted in the sun but he could not make out much more of the dress, only that the dress was sky-blue. Above the cloth the man was wearing a white cape to protect his skin from the burning sun. The cape also contained a hood which was over his head for further protection. It made it impossible to take a look at his face.
After the foreigner was done with his own inspection of Yuugi and his friends, he turned around to the two men which seemed to be under his command.
"If you gave a promise to this boy, you have to stay true to your word. The mare is now owned by the boy," he explained quietly to the shocked men. "Ramses, for your stupidity you will work in the stables for the next several weeks. I am not firing you, that would be a waste of your skills. But you need to pay attention to your temper."
He looked over at the other man now.
"Achmed I would like for you to take the mare back to our tents. Give her something to drink and make her ready for the handover!"
Both men bowed, even though Ramses did it with a slightly sour look on his face. Then they turned around and left, Achmed leading the tired mare beside him with a rope.
The foreign man, on the other hand turned his attention towards the group of friends again. He walked over smoothly until he stood directly in front of Yuugi.
The teen had watched every action of this man. How he spoke, how he handled the situation so calmly, the way he walked; somehow it all reminded the young Mutou of someone. However he was not able to recall who it was. But he was sure his way of acting was very familiar.
Now the man was bowing his head slightly at Yuugi.
"I sincerely apologize for the stupidity of my men," he said, voice friendly and kind. "I hope they have not offended you in any way."
He straightened back and removed his hood in one fluid movement. Gasps of shock ran through the group of people and Yuugi stared at the person in front of him with wide, disbelieving eyes.
It was a young man, who could not be much older than him. He eyes shone with warmth and kindness. But that was not what shocked the friends so much. This person was an exact replica of Atemu. The hair, the eyes, the smile, it was just like Atemu.
And Yuugi finally realized why this young man seemed to be so familiar in his eyes. The way he talked, walked, acted, it all reminded him of Atemu. He glanced over at the spirit to see the reaction and somehow he was not even surprised that the former pharaoh was scrutinizing the newcomer with the same calm expression on his face as the stranger had on his own.
Suddenly seeming to remember something, he smiled at the group and then his eyes were on Yuugi again.
"May I know the name of our mare's new owner?" he asked politely.
Yuugi nodded, suddenly feeling slightly shy for unknown reasons.
"My name is Mutou Yuugi," he bowed slightly. "Sorry for the impolite staring by the way. But you just look a little too much like..."
He glanced over at Atemu who was watching the scene with some amusement now. The stranger showed a small grin and bowed as well.
"If I may introduce myself, my name is Atemu Djed-ra-iu-ef-anch and I am the head of this small humble caravan over there."
"Holy shit, you even have his NAME?" Jonouchi had finally had enough shocks for today to keep quiet any longer. "This is the most weirdest encounter on the most weirdest day I've ever had in my life, honestly!"
"Djed-ra-iu-ef-anch?" Isis now voiced, not paying attention to the blonde's outburst. "I've heard about you. Your family is famous for your horse breeding. They are also one of the last descendants of the ancient pharaoh line. And you are Atemu, son of the clan's head?"
The Egyptian lowered his head barely in confirmation.
"That's me. You are well informed, Ishtar Isis, current leader of the holy gravekeeper."
The female gravekeeper nodded her head, approving the fact that this young man also knew well about her own family. The new Atemu then turned his head to give his attention back to Yuugi.
"Yuugi Mutou, since it will take some time to prepare your horse and it will be night soon, would you accept my offer for you and your friends to stay at my camp for the night? We have fire to protect you against the cold of the desert night, food to fill your stomachs and tents for you to sleep in. I would be more than delighted to host all of you tonight."
He smiled winningly and Yuugi couldn't help but be entranced by it. He glanced back at his friends and jii-chan still unsure what to decide.
It was Isis who made the decision though. She nodded at Yuugi, a soft smile on her lips.
"We would gladly accept the kind offer," she declared. "But tomorrow we have to finish what was started long ago."
And with a painful pang Yuugi was reminded and realized that this would be the last night he would share with Atemu, his mou hitori no boku, former pharaoh of Egypt. Suddenly the walk to the camp of the caravan caused his heart to feel heavier, destroying the happy feeling of looking forward to a wonderful night of fun.