Author's Note: Wow! YuGiOh, huh? Haven't written for YuGiOh in a while.
…haven't really written anything for a while, to be honest. I've been really busy, and I've been trying to work on more original stuff. But here I am now!
Please enjoy this random story. (It ties into some of the sentences I wrote for YuGiOh—Puzzle Pieces. But if you didn't read it, no worries.)
Dedication: Happy St. White's Day, everyone! X3 (Or happy March 14th, whatever.)
Warnings: Yaoi. Incest. AU-ish twist to Yami's days as pharaoh. Also, please be aware that the character's names have been changed. Well, most of them. Yami is Atemu, Yugi is Heba ("game," as I'm sure many of you already know), and Anzu is Iba. (According to the research I tried to do, that means "dance." Unfortunately, I couldn't find the translation for "apricot," which is what her name means in Japanese. Ah well.)
Also, just FYI: electrum is a mixture of gold and silver.
I think that's all.
Be prepared for love triangles. X3
X X X
The peasants say that the eldest son is gold. Bright, shimmering; as hot and wild as the desert sands. Like Ra, the sun god, wavering in the sky: he brightens the lands and gives the people hope. A future.
He is precious.
The peasants call the youngest son silver. Slippery, sweet, sharp—though not malicious. Clever. Playful. Enigmatic; almost more so than his brother. There is a hidden darkness to his naive innocence… it makes him enticing. Lovable. He is like their smiling moon: illuminating the darkest of nights with his amorous rays.
He is adored.
Their sister—younger than the oldest, but older than the youngest— is neither silver nor gold. She is copper. Stunning in her own right, witty and wise. Not as graceful nor desired as her brothers, but far from unwanted. Cherished for her beauty and ideas… Opalescent, she is: a million different opinions, thoughts, dreams, demands, and moods all swirl within her, making whirlpools of her doe-brown eyes.
But she does not glitter as they. She loves the people, and they love her, but she is not of their league.
She is the princess. That is all. Not prized treasures, like her brothers. Not princes; not jewels and riches personified.
She is Iba. Simply Iba.
They—they are Atemu and Heba.
They are gold and silver.
And there is no need for copper once you have that.
X X XXX
I love him.
She knows she does. And all is well, for she is meant to. He is, after all, a god. Just as she is a goddess: one bloodline, one throne.
He is her betrothed. They are to be married. Soon, once her monthly blood begins to pour. She is thirteen now; her body is already transforming into that of a woman's. It will not be much longer until the first flow.
"Atemu…" Her gaze falls upon him as she leans around the pear-shaped column, her fingers sliding down the smooth, painted stone. She feels her cheeks heat with pleasure as she watches her older brother read in the garden. At fifteen, he is the pride of Egypt: a slender, dark-skinned vision. His crimson eyes follow the stream of hieroglyphs he is reading, rolling up the papyrus as he finishes.
She has heard the servants call him a mirage. And amongst the ballooning desert flowers in the garden, she understands why.
He is too beautiful to be real.
Her heart swells with love—with longing and pride. She will be a good wife for him, when the time finally comes. After all, no one can possibly love him more.
Without warning, Iba sees him tilt his head; the golden rays of sunlight sparkle off his ornaments, casting colored prisms upon the palace walls.
And he winks at her, chuckling. His voice is already deep, like their father's—dark with the understanding of the shadows, the weight of the crown. A voice which resonates like thunder, striking the sands and shaking the foundations of the earth.
Her knees tremble.
She shyly waves.
In response, he smiles, stands, and starts lobbing his dice into the air, leaving her alone once more.
Her brothers play dice often. Very often— at least once a day. And once in a while, they allow Iba to join them. But not too often, or she might give away their secret.
"We don't study very much," Heba whispers, tossing the two die in his cupped hands. The smoothed bone bounces off of the flesh of her brother's palms, making a muted clacking sound. Then the twin cubes are jumping and skidding across the marble floor, making such a beautiful racket that the two boys smile. "We hide in here and pretend."
"You play games all day?" she asks in wide-eyed wonder. Even she can't get away with that.
Her brothers exchange glances, cracking identical smirks. They could have been twins.
"Sometimes," Atemu breathes, his eyes and words full of mystery. He is on his knees, his face flushed and excited in a way that their father would have disapproved of, for it is not the calm face of a pharaoh. It is the excited features of a young boy. "Sometimes, we do other things."
"Like what?" Iba wonders aloud, leaning forward. Together, the siblings form the points of a triangle. The most sacred of shapes… But she notices fleetingly how much closer the boys' corners are; closer than they used to be.
Are the three equals no longer?
Her brothers don't answer for a moment, and the girl realizes that the games aren't the only secret they've been keeping.
The die skids to a stop.
"Snake eyes," Heba coos.
The girl stares down as the dots stare up, and she suddenly remembers a story she heard from a foreign diplomat—a story of temptation and a serpent in paradise.
They did this repeatedly in their youth, Heba and his older brother. Games, games—endless games. Board games, dice games, card cames… anything and everything Atemu could find to pacify his youngest sibling. Because anything Heba wants, Heba will have. By order of the future pharaoh; by order of Egypt's most beloved prince.
And though those days have long passed, and though the future pharaoh should be preparing for his days as king, he still finds time to play games with Heba— like the dice game in his quarters— as if they are still children. Because Heba wants him to.
Anything Heba wants, Heba will have.
She watches her mischievous brothers from the endless palace steps: Atemu, accompanied by his sizable guards, and Heba waiting for him in the sun-cast shadows of the decorative pillars.
"Brother, as always you are too kind to grace me with your visits. I pray I have not inconvenienced your lordship." The younger boy bows—low and reverent. He is twelve, and he is perfect.
With unabashed eyes, Atemu's gaze caresses his little brother's body: up and down, up and down, leisurely and slow. Unnaturally pale, like plaster. Amethyst eyes that glitter with adoration and good humor. But they hide something, those eyes. Something ancient… knowledge far beyond the years of one so young.
For this reason, Heba sometimes scares Iba.
But the older boy has never experienced this sometimes-fright, and trails an affectionate hand down Heba's fascinating face: stroking his left cheek with the back of his hand. Thick, dark lashes flutter.
Wetted lips pull back in a smile of amusement.
"Never, little one. I delight in watching you grow, both body and soul. You will become a fine prince of Egypt. My only wish is to be an active part in the process; to beam with private pride, knowing that I helped shape you into the man you will soon become."
Heba lifts his lowered head, eyes half lidded and mouth curling upwards. "Why brother, you flatter me," he murmurs, in a voice so sensual that it makes the nearby guards feel faint. Iba snorts. "Truly, if I were to become an honorable man, it will all be the result of your fine work. However, if I were to slide down the slope of temptation, the fault would be mine. For the gods know how terrible I am, left to my own devices. Your guidance is the only thing that keeps me on the path of the noble and the just."
The tender touch slips down his cheek, brushes his neck, and lands on his chest. Atemu lifts one eyebrow, answering wordlessly.
And then the brothers laugh, and then the fantasy pops like a bath bubble.
An act: well-practiced and full of jovial taunts. The pair walks away— leaving the stunned and blushing guards in the breeze vestibule— for the boys have better things to do: lessons to study and penmanship to practice, and nobles to meet and swordplay to perfect, and so many other things to do and games to play…
They retire to Atemu's rooms, not to be heard from until supper. She knows this, and knows what they'll be doing, and wishes to continue the dice game, too. With a clatter of sandals on stone, she begins to jog after them, wanting to play.
But they are oblivious to her calls.
Her footsteps slow. She is left alone and confused and hurt in the hallway.
Anything Heba wants, Heba will have.
And Heba wants his brother, and his brother only.
Fourteen is old for a marriage.
Iba worries her bottom lip, her footsteps full of purpose. They echo in the temple; the slap of skin on marble is almost painful.
What is wrong with her? Why will she not bleed? Without blood, she can bare no child. Without the promise of children, she cannot be her brother's wife. Their bloodline will die. Egypt will crumble. They will bring about—
No, she must not think such things.
Pausing mid-step, she turns and bows to the effigy of Isis. The statue watches unseeingly, her face impassive in the monumental shrine. Iba takes a deep breath; the shadow-blue smoke of incense burns the back of her throat. "Mother Isis," the girl murmurs, eyes squeezed shut, "you've always helped me before. Please, watch over me now—help me understand. Help me understand why this is happening. Give me a sign…"
There is a clatter near the entrance; she bolts upright, terror in her gaze. She should not be here without protection… not without her servants, or teachers, or guards. But how can she enjoy the peace of solemn prayer with others around?
She will soon be in trouble…
Panicked, she darts around the unmoving goddess, praying for forgiveness as she crouches behind Isis's stone legs.
Someone enters. Two someones— both lean and elegant, though one is fairly small. They laugh in warm whispers, hands and arms tangling; their matching heads dip low to breathe hushed confessions into each other's ear. And then they giggle again, drunk on life, until they are so knotted in the other that they can scarcely move.
They fall against the wall, pressing flush to the painted alabaster. Even from her hiding place, she can see that no air can come between them. Their foreheads meet, their curled mouths part. The darting tip of a wine-red tongue moistens the taller one's—the dominate one's—tan lips.
The one being pressed to the wall whimpers, but it is not a whimper of fright.
It is one of desire.
She can hear that; see it in the smaller boy's bright eyes. See it in the way his fingers ghost across the taller man's chest. See it in the way he looks demurely to the side, though his smile speaks of impish pleasure.
And that is not all she can see…
"You're certainly frisky tonight, my future pharaoh," the small one mouths, his voice sugar-sweet and gentle. His words are like candy, and his companion is eating them with a wide grin. "And here I thought we'd played our games this afternoon."
"I never tire of games, little one," the other purrs, moving his hips to a rhythm she'd seen the palace dancers follow. But this, this seems different. Darker, somehow. And passionate. Passionate in a way that even the most skilled of dancers cannot mirror. "Especially not my favorite game."
There is teasing reprimand in the elder's glare. "Mock me not, young prince," hisses a voice of black velvet. "Or your pharaoh shall have to punish you."
Iba sees the first boy smile, and feels her stomach curl and wither and fall away. This is not a joke or game. This is not their little play-act, their teasing role play. This is… This cannot be happening… "You speak as if I would not enjoy it, my king."
Their bodies, bathed in gloom, resemble those ithyphallic carvings of Min and Amun; she tears her eyes away, face flushing with shame and fury.
Her fingers curl into claws, digging into the statue of Isis and chipping her nails. Her copper eyes glow green through the darkness. Her heart pounds like the drums of war.
Their embrace deepens. And she watches as their shadows, once separately cast, merge into a single being on the temple wall.
Hot, crimson liquid swirls down her thighs and legs.
"Brother, you know I am to be your queen."
Her voice rings through the candlelit library, full of royal pride. It matches the language of her body; she straightens even further as he lifts his stare to find her's.
There is irritated confusion in his garnet gaze. "Sister, why do you say this to me?" he demands… though his words do not ask his question. His eyes tell the real story: what do you know?
She sniffs, carrying herself as the woman she knows she's finally become. Those days of childhood, not even one year ago, feel so distant in this moment of adultness. And her heart, once full and warm, feels like a cold weight in her chest.
Like a rock.
"I speak only to remind you, son of Ra." Iba bows—but her frosted eyes never leave Atemu's. She wonders if they are still the same envious shade she thought she'd seen in her reflection that morning. "I realize that I have left you wifeless for far too long, and grow eager to see the day when our bodies are one."
She sees his nose wrinkle—the remnants of youth cropping up in his wordless show of distaste—but he says nothing. The expression is gone within seconds.
"You speak truly?" he drawls, and sets aside his scroll. His angular face is a mess of annoyance, patience, and concern for his sister's odd behavior. She barely has a chance to nod before he continues. "Princess, do you say these things out of duty or desire?"
"Both in equal measures, my king."
An eyebrow cocks. "Verily?"
"I would never play you false."
His hummed response tells nothing, except that he heard her speak. Finally, he tilts his face in her direction. "If that is so," he drones, "then answer me faithfully. Why, daughter of the gods, do you say these things now? What has prompted you to remind me of our impending courtship? Has our mutual father and pharaoh prompted these words, or did you feel a sudden need to stake your claim?"
She feels her pulse quicken; his ruby stare bores into her soul. And in an instant, she knows. She knows that she can hide nothing: he is aware of what she witnessed in the temple.
Her face hardens. "You know quite well, brother prince, that our bloodline must not be tarnished by the seed or egg of mortals."
"But of other gods?" he interjects lightly, resting a chin upon his hand. His eyes are alive with amusement, now; his jewelry tinkles as she sputters. He reminds her of a contented cat. "That is not blasphemous, yes? Why, that is the reason behind our imminent marriage, sister princess."
She purses her lips and swallows and snarl. "He cannot bare you children."
The innocent question lingers in the silence; she feels her face ignite with the fires of embarrassment and shame, clutching at her dress to keep from smacking the smirk off of his arrogant face. And he knows he's struck a nerve, and he sees how her stone heart cracks.
"My body is that of a woman," she grinds through clenched teeth, forcing respect into her voice. She notices, abruptly, how painful her voice is on the ears. Not like Heba's, which flows like music… No. Her voice is thick and dark, and rich like honey. And while this is appealing to many, compared to the subtle inflections, dips, and notes in her brother's voice, her voice is as rough and gritty as sand.
She hates herself. She hates Heba.
She hates Atemu more than she can possibly say.
Atemu notices her very real anger and stands, bowing low. "A thousand apologies, princess," he soothes, offering her his hand. "I did not mean for my words to offend you so. Please forgive my rash resentment and rude repartee. I confess, you did not find me in the best of moods; this disagreement is clearly my fault."
He flashes her a charming smile, and she feels her rage melting away.
She despises him all the more for it.
They keep their love of a secret, but how she does not know. They make it so obvious… perhaps to disguise it all the more. And when their father speaks of marriage and children, her brothers merely need to distract him with jokes or smiles or news from other lands, and he forgets. The brothers capture him in their shimmering web, blocking Iba from his mind.
She is not needed.
She is a waste.
And soon, she begins wondering if they ever really needed her at all. True, she can give birth… but so? What woman cannot? And while woman are not so low as slaves—in fact, she knows she is nearly as valuable as a son— she is still not a son. She is a daughter of Ra… in theory, two sons are more powerful than a daughter and a son, yes?
She sits outside her brother's quarters, listening to sounds that make her want to cry: muffled shouts, muted groans, oozing demands and whispered oaths.
That should be me.
But she has come to accept that it will never be her. Even if she and Atemu wed, one day in the distant future. Even if he takes her to wife, to bed. Even if she bares him strong sons and beautiful daughters. Even if she tells him how she feels.
Never. For she knows it is impossible for him to ever love her—to ever love anyone—with the same strength and conviction with which he loves his Heba.
His "favorite game."
Iba eavesdrops silently, staring into the star-filled night, and wonders if this is really what she wants in life. This loneliness, this sadness… this feeling of deprivation in the face of her riches. Will this feeling ever go away?
No… no, probably not.
For she knows—deep down inside—that there is no room for copper in a world of electrum.
X X XXX