Disclaimer: If I owned Yu-gi-oh! and its characters instead of Kazuki Takahashi, would I be posting this for free online? No. I'd be out on a trip around the world spending my royalty checks.
Rating: T for language, suggestive content, mild violence (of the battling-cartoon-monsters variety).
Pairings and Warnings: Yugi x Téa (x Atem). Kaiba x Kisara. Joey x Mai. Tristan x Serenity. Some Bakura x Marik (shonen ai mostly; nothing very graphic.) Puzzleshippy stuff if you squint really hard. And yeah, I use the dub names. It's how I got to know and love these characters. But the continuity pulls from the dub, the sub, and the manga and exists in the same universe as all my other YGO stories. Sequel to the Revival series.
Acknowledgements: I need to thank Lucidscreamer again. Not only does the fear of getting a Lucidscreamer Sporking (TM) keep me from being lazy about research, whenever I can't find the answer to a question about Ancient Egypt on my own, she has gone above and beyond to research it for me. Most of all, I cannot thank her enough for providing the phrase that Yugi cries out in his dark night of the soul.
This is when you play most of your cards: you can
Normal Summon, Set, or change the battle position of a monster,
activate a card's effect, and Set Spell and Trap Cards. These
actions can be done in any order you want, but some actions have
—Yu-gi-oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook
"I've got it! Tahiti!"
Joey looked up from the library computer where he was attempting yet another unsuccessful Google search as Mai slapped a piece of paper down over the keyboard, a victorious smile on her lips. He offered her a lazy grin in return. "Sounds good to me, but I think we've got a little too much on our plate for a vacation right now."
"No, you bonehead, there's a regional tournament in Tahiti starting tomorrow. And guess who's gonna be in it?"
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Lemme guess. Biker, bad haircut, worse accent…"
She snorted. "Like you're one to talk about bad haircuts and accents. But yes, I've got it right here, and it only took about five minutes of flirting with the tournament registration guy. Thank God for Blackberrys. It's so much easier when you can e-mail pictures—"
He leaned back and crossed his arms. "Yeah, unless for some reason you're looking to have me to kill this anonymous registration guy, you'd better stop right there."
"The point is, Valon will be in Tahiti no later than tomorrow. Might even be there right now."
"Well, thank God." Joey pushed back from the computer in disgust. "'Cause after two days of finding a big fat nothing, I'm so done with the whole internet search thing. I was getting ready to throw myself at Rebecca's feet when she gets home this afternoon and bow before her computer wizardry."
"Oh, but my methods are so much more fun." Mai leaned over him, giving him an eyeful of exactly why her "methods" were so successful.
"Only when you're trying to get information from me." He pulled her down into his lap. "And can I just say how good it is to have you back to your obnoxious, overly-flirtatious self?" Before she could respond, he drew her into a long, lingering kiss, grateful for every aggravating, exasperating, maddening trait she possessed.
"Mmmm." She nuzzled his neck when they broke for air. "It's good to be my obnoxious, overly-flirtatious self. Two nights dream-free." Then she pulled back, giving him a more serious look. "Although, you're still not sleeping great, I noticed. What's that about?"
He looked up at her and shrugged. "I dunno. The thing with the Pharaoh, probably." He sighed. "Things were finally looking up around here after you and Yuge beat the Shadow Game, but it's been, like, ten days since that bastard sent the other Yugi to the Shadow Realm, and we still got nothing to get him back. I'm worried about Yugi."
Mai looked thoughtful. "He's been better the last couple of days, though."
"Better than the few days before that, maybe, but he's still not himself, have you noticed?" Joey shifted her on his lap slightly to get more comfortable. "Kinda standoffish and gloomy? That just ain't Yugi, and I don't know whether to hug him to try to make it better, or smack him."
"You can hardly blame him, given what happened."
"It's not that I blame him. It's just… it ain't Yugi."
She nodded. "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about that. Neither one of us is likely to find the way to bring back the Pharaoh since we don't read ancient Egyptian. But…." She picked up the sheet of paper that was still lying across the keyboard. "If we can get some answers from Valon, maybe that will help get everything back on track."
He looked over the paper, a list of contestants for a regional Duel Monsters tournament in Papeete, Tahiti. Sure enough, Valon's name was listed. "So do we have his phone number?"
"Not his, no. We do have the number for the hotel, but I'm not sure how far we'll get trying to reach him that way. We're not likely to catch him in his room, and after what happened in London, he might not be willing to return my call."
Joey's eyes narrowed. "Wait. What happened in London?"
"Nothing." She waved it away and gave him a wicked grin. "It would be an awful shame if the two of us had to go out there to speak to him in person."
Joey raised his eyebrows. "To Tahiti."
"It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the team."
"You're just so giving that way," he said dryly. "And you didn't answer my question about London."
She lowered her voice and leaned in close to him, tracing her finger in a line down his jaw. "I bought a couple of bikinis last August when all the summer stuff was on clearance at Hush."
He swallowed, London forgotten. "Yeah, Tahiti sounds good."
Hooking her finger under his chin, she pulled him into another kiss.
"Oh man, would you two get a room?"
They broke away. Tristan was standing in the doorway, his arms folded in disgust.
Joey smirked. "Hey, don't blame me just 'cause your new girlfriend is all the way in England. What?" he asked as Mai suddenly gave him an irate look and moved off his lap into the next chair.
Tristan leaned against the doorjamb. "She's not my girlfriend… yet."
Mai gave Tristan one of her fishing-for-information smiles. "So what is the story, Tristan? I heard she called you from England the other day. You two really hitting it off, huh?"
Tristan shrugged, not quite meeting Mai's eyes. "Hard to say. We had a great conversation, and we wanna get to know each other better, but with everything going on here, I haven't even had a chance to so much as e-mail her since then."
"I so couldn't do the long-distance thing." Mai sighed dramatically, curling her hair around her finger.
"What are you talking about? We almost had to, remember?" Joey glared at her. Why was she trying to ruin this for Tristan?
She flashed him another annoyed look in return. "And if you'll remember, I said I couldn't handle it."
Joey crossed his arms. "So what's a little distance when you work for a guy with a fleet of private jets? You should totally go for it, bro."
Mai looked ready to kill him—just what was her problem anyway?—but she turned to Tristan instead. "Do you think it'd be worth the hassle?"
He shrugged again. "Too soon to tell. So, any luck finding Valon?"
Mai took the hint and let the subject drop. "Actually, I just found out he'll be at a tournament that starts tomorrow. In Tahiti."
Tristan whistled. "Tahiti? Why do I get the feeling you'll find an excuse to go see him in person?"
"It's a dirty job." Joey grinned. "So how about you guys? Find out anything about the whole 'locked out' business?"
"Nothing so far." Tristan finally came all the way into the room. Grabbing a chair from the table, he pulled it near the computer where Joey was sitting and straddled it backwards, resting his arms across the back. "It's not like there's a Shadow Game tech support we can call. The stuff that has been written up is a lot of mystical gobbly-gook that's hard to follow, and every text we find contradicts every other text we find. But it does seem like whoever calls a Dark Game can put all sorts of weird conditions on it."
"Sounds like Pegasus's area of expertise," Mai said.
Tristan nodded. "Actually, Duke and Serenity are up in Marin right now talking to Pegasus about how his duel with Yugi worked."
Joey glowered at him. "You let my sister go off alone with Duke Devlin?"
Tristan groaned, burying his face in his arms, and Mai cuffed Joey upside the head with the heel of her hand. "Stop being such an idiot!"
"Hey!" Joey rubbed his head.
"Like you'd be any happier if I went too." Tristan sat up again. "Seriously, dude, you've got to let it go. She has enough issues without you being the psycho-brother from hell."
Mai flashed Joey a sort of triumphant look, but he ignored her, his cheek twitching as he glared at Tristan. "And just what is that supposed to mean?"
"It means Serenity's a big girl, so let it go," Mai answered for him. "But Tristan, why didn't you go see Pegasus, too?"
"'Cause Joey and I are meeting Yugi and Téa at one o'clock at that diner Yugi likes out by the airport. We're having a little powwow with Marik. They already left to go pick him up—his flight gets in about quarter to eleven."
"I still don't see why I shouldn't go, too." Mai sat back in her chair and crossed her arms, pouting. "It's one thing if Yugi doesn't want him staying here, but leaving me out of a conversation about my own nightmares? Seriously, I don't think it's a big deal. He didn't bother me after Battle City."
Tristan leaned forward and rested his chin on his arms. "Yugi has been a little skittish about Marik coming here, don't you think? I noticed it in Luxor, too, like he was kind of avoiding him. It's a little weird, isn't it? He was totally cool with Marik when we were there three years ago. What's changed?"
Joey frowned. "You don't think it's 'cause of him and Bakura?"
"What, like he's bothered that they're gay?" Tristan straightened, shaking his head. "Nah, I can't picture Yugi caring about that. And he's still cool with Bakura."
"Yeah, you're probably right. I guess it's just one more weird side effect from whatever is going on with him because of the thing with the Pharaoh. Man, I hope we find a way to bring him back soon."
"Maybe Sara and Kaiba will find something?" Mai said hopefully.
Joey shuddered. "Don't even talk about the two of them. I'm still trying to scrub my brain from the very thought of Kaiba—OW!" He shrieked as Mai suddenly kicked him in the shins. "What'dja do—AAAHH!" Joey jumped about two feet off his seat as Sara appeared from the book stacks. "Sara! What are you doing here?"
Mai threatened him with her boot again, but fortunately for him, Sara was engrossed in a very ancient-looking scroll and was muttering to herself, oblivious to their presence. His scream seemed to only barely penetrate her consciousness and she looked up. "What? Oh, hello, I didn't see you there. Did you say something?"
"What are you doing here? I thought you were staying at Kaiba's." He grimaced, and Mai gave him another warning look.
But Sara was already looking back down at the scroll in her hands. "Oh, yes. I came back to get some more texts."
"You find something interesting, Sara?" Mai asked. "Are you onto a ritual that might help the Pharaoh?"
"Oh, no, I'm afraid not. But I did find something quite astonishing. It's a record of prisoners taken during what seems to be a rather broad sweep made during Atem's reign."
Joey tried not to yawn. "So?"
She looked up, staring at him, an incredulous expression on her face. "'So?' Do you have any idea what a find this is? Surviving legal documents from any era are rare, but there is virtually nothing that survives from Atem's time on the throne. Not only was it such a fleeting reign, what few records there would have been were all purged, probably by whoever removed his name from his tomb and the stone tablet in Giza. But this refers to some sort of unspeakable desecration and a battle at the palace during a pharaoh's coronation. As a result of this, the pharaoh issued a decree that more or less put Egypt under martial law, and two of the court's sacred guardians were put in charge of a sweep made of the city. One of them is Seto! That means it must be from Atem's reign." She shook her head, agitated. "This is unbelievable! The more I find out about Ishizu Ishtar, the angrier I get. She ought to be arrested for hoarding something like this! How could she have a document like this and not turn it over to the public archives?"
"A lot of stuff she has was handed down from her family," Joey said. "I doubt she even knows what all is there."
"I don't care! This is invaluable. The detail is remarkable. It tells how Seto and another sacred guardian called Shada arrested anyone they found to be suspicious. There's quite a list of suspects." She looked at the document again, clearly excited. "And this, here, it's so unusual. A description of a woman who was taken into custody after a mob tried to stone her to death, claiming she had a demon."
Joey's eyes widened as a flash of a memory came to him. "Whoa, no way! Lemme see that!" He jumped up from his seat and grabbed the document away from Sara.
"Careful! That's quite valuable and fragile!"
"And you don't read hieroglyphics," Mai reminded him dryly.
Joey looked at the jumble of symbols on the parchment before Sara snatched it back from him with an indignant huff. He grinned, sheepish. "Oh yeah."
"What's got you so interested in ancient history all of a sudden?" Mai asked him.
"'Cause I remember that girl!" He looked at Tristan for confirmation. "Remember when we first got there? The crowd stoning a girl?"
Tristan's jaw dropped. "You're right! The Kaiba look-alike dude stopped them."
Mai and Sara both looked between the two of them, Sara with confusion and Mai with curiosity. "You're joking."
Joey shook his head. "No, really. It was when we first got into the Memory World. We were trying to find the Pharaoh and ended up in the middle of this mob of people throwing stones at this poor woman lying unconscious on the ground. She didn't look Egyptian. More like a cousin of Bakura's or something. White hair, pale skin—"
"Wait, how did you know that?" Sara was frowning at him.
"This says the mob thought Kisara had a demon because she had light skin and white hair."
"Yes. That's the name listed here, which is odd. She's the only prisoner listed by name. All of the others are referred to by the names of demons that the guardians believed possessed them, while Kisara's 'demon' isn't listed. But if you can't read hieroglyphics, how did you know? I've never heard this story before, and I've studied every piece of information there is on this era. How could you have possibly known about her light skin and white hair?"
Joey sighed and rolled his eyes. "You wouldn't believe me if—" He stopped short. White hair... His eyes went round as he sucked in his breath. "No way."
"What?" Mai asked.
Tristan's brow furrowed. "Yeah, man, what's the deal?"
Joey stared at Sara, whose confusion turned to a more disturbed look at his sudden scrutiny. He'd only seen the woman for a moment, and she'd been unconscious and dressed in sackcloth, her hair loose and covering most of her face, but even with Sara alert, in modern clothes with her hair pulled back, he was certain. How could they have missed it? "That's why you look so familiar." He turned to Tristan. "She's her!"
"Look at her! White hair? Pale skin? She's the same girl, the one who was getting stoned!"
Tristan leaned forward to study her as well. "Whoa, dude! I think you're right!"
Sara looked indignant. "What in the bloody hell are you on about?"
"Yeah, I'd like to hear this too," Mai said, her arms crossed impatiently, but with more curiosity and less irritation than Sara.
"She's her. Just like Yugi and Kaiba and Ishizu with the whole past life thing. She was there, the girl who was almost stoned." Joey stopped as another piece fell into place. "Wait." He turned from Mai back to Sara. "You said her name was Kisara? Holy shit, that explains everything! Why you ended up in Seto's tomb, why you love dragons. Why you and Kaiba—" He shook his head, not wanting to go there.
"Excuse me?" Sara flushed an angry red. "Have you taken complete leave of your senses?"
"You lost me there, too, bro," Tristan said.
"You know how the monsters came from people? Remember Mana and Dark Magician Girl? Kisara was Blue-Eyes White Dragon." He turned to Sara. "You're Blue-Eyes White Dragon!"
Tristan stared at him. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Sara, however, turned even paler than usual, all the irritation draining completely from her face. "What?" This time her voice was almost too quiet to hear.
Joey looked at Tristan. "Remember on the island down in those caves, when Kaiba and Mai and I checked out a different tunnel? Kaiba found this one group of hieroglyphics that was really bugging him, and he said Blue-Eyes came from someone named Kisara."
Tristan scratched the back of his head. "What would he know about her? He wasn't even there until later."
"Who knows what he saw before he joined us in that last battle." Joey shook his head, berating himself for not seeing it sooner. "It all makes sense. Her thing for dragons, the sleepwalking to Seto's tomb, her coming all the way out here to help us find a ritual she don't even believe in. She's connected to this, just as much as Yugi or Kaiba or Ishizu or Gramps—"
"WOULD YOU KINDLY STOP TALKING ABOUT ME LIKE I'M NOT EVEN IN THE ROOM!"
Joey frowned as he turned back to Sara. She looked almost hysterical, her hands clenched at her side, crumpling the middle of the document in her fist despite the fact that she'd admonished him earlier about how valuable and fragile it was.
Tristan rose from his seat, holding his hands out to placate her. "Whoa. It's okay. We're just trying to figure it out."
"Figure what out? How I'm supposed to be the girl in this text? You're mad." She took a step back, looking from Tristan to Mai to Joey. "All of you, you're all completely deranged."
Joey shook his head. "No, we're not. We were there, Sara. Me, Tristan, Yugi, and Téa. We went back into the past, only it wasn't really the past—it was a world built on the Pharaoh's memories. But still, we were there. I know the story of the girl in that text because I saw it happen. Kaiba—I mean Seto, the priest guy with Kaiba's face—he rescued her from the mob and took her back to the palace. That's what it says in that scroll of yours, right? He ordered the guards to give her whatever food and water she wanted, and then he threatened the crowd if they didn't leave. Am I right?"
"I—" Sara looked down at the text again, smoothing it out between her two hands, which Joey could see were shaking. "My God, you are. It says she was taken to the palace, but not as a prisoner, and the crowd was disbursed." She met his gaze once more, her eyes wide and disturbed. "But what did you mean, she's the White Dragon? That I—"
"Kaiba's the one who told me about her."
Sara swallowed. "I don't understand."
"I think you do," Joey said levelly. "It's why you're here, isn't it?"
"I—" But she couldn't finish. Shaking her head, she backed away again, as if suddenly afraid he would launch an attack.
"Ask Kaiba," he told her. "If anyone knows about Blue-Eyes and Kisara, it's Kaiba."