In Yugi's opinion, Mahaad's men had lousy timing.

Granted, Yugi had been in danger of getting sand into places he would have later regretted, but at the time, it had definitely seemed worth the risk. Unfortunately, the men's arrival sent Yami into full archaeologist mode, and he had barely taken the time to straighten his kilt before launching into instructions to the men who would be guarding the tomb until the representatives from the government got there. He cautioned them not to enter the tomb, as the "earthquake damage" had made it unsafe. (They had decided earlier that "earthquake damage" sounded far less crazy than "evil ghostly rampage.")

Held up assisting Interpol, Mahaad had been unable to return with his men. However, he had placed his driver at their disposal. Yugi and Yami gratefully accepted the man's offer of a ride back to Aswan, where they could clean up, eat, and procure lodgings for the night. Both were too tired even to contemplate the long trek back to Luxor. Yugi had doubled over laughing at Yami's effusive thanks to the driver when the man produced the pants and shirt Mahaad had sent. Much to Yugi's disappointment, Yami immediately changed out of his pharaonic clothing, though necessity dictated he retain the ancient Egyptian underwear. That image was enough to sustain Yugi on the long, kidney-jarring drive back across the desert.

Many tedious hours later, Yugi and Yami found themselves sharing a simple hotel room in Aswan. Yugi barely noticed the furnishings beyond a vague impression of outdated colors and worn surfaces. The bulk of his attention focused on his companion, who had just stepped out of the shower, still glistening with moisture. The sight of the water droplets clinging to all that bare, golden skin combined with the knowledge that he could so easily have lost Yami forever back in that tomb was a one-two sucker punch to Yugi's self-control and libido. Self-control went down without a fight. He dropped the phone -- he had intended to call Seto to let him know that they had made it out alive -- and crossed the room at a run. He collided with Yami with enough force to knock him onto the bed, following him down and planting a solid kiss on his open mouth before Yami could do more than exhale a faint "umph!" in surprise.

When Yugi finally released him, Yami -- who had wrapped both arms around Yugi to hold him in place and who was panting just as hard as Yugi -- blinked somewhat dazed eyes up at him, and said, "It's later. I thought we were going to talk."

Yugi knew that they needed to. They had a lot to figure out if they wanted to make this thing between them work, not the least of which was what to do about their divergent careers and lifestyles. At the moment, none of it seemed terribly important. All that mattered was the feel of Yami's skin beneath his questing fingertips and the pounding of Yami's heartbeat against his chest.

"Can't it be 'later', later?" Yugi asked, his eyes wide and pleading.

Beneath him, Yami groaned. "I am never going to win an argument with you, am I?"

Yugi leaned down and kissed him again. "What do you think?"

"I am so screwed."

"Not yet," Yugi breathed, and leaned down to capture his lover's mouth once more.

Yugi nipped at Yami's lips until he parted them and allowed Yugi's tongue to invade his mouth. Yami moaned and arched his body up to meet Yugi's, while Yugi's tongue stroked his pallet and tasted every part of Yami's mouth it could reach. Yami tasted of the mint tea he had consumed earlier, sweet and sharp. There was no battle for dominance; rather, they fit together as equals, partners. It was as if their souls had known one another before, and now their bodies were learning each other anew. When they finally came up for air, both were panting. Yugi breathed in the scent of the harsh hotel soap still clinging to Yami's skin, along with the faint masculine musk of sweat.

"Too many clothes," Yami complained, freeing a hand from where it tangled in Yugi's hair to tug at his t-shirt. "Off!"

"You really must have been Pharaoh," Yugi huffed, then grinned at Yami's confused expression. "You like ordering me around."

"I do not!" The sly expression in Yami's eyes belied the denial. "Is it so wrong to want you naked?"

Well, no. In fact, just the notion that Yami wanted him naked sent a hot spark shooting through Yugi's body to lodge in his abdomen. Braced on his elbows, he pressed his body against Yami's, reveling in the feel of lean, hard muscles and long limbs beneath his own, more compact body. It was a sensation he wouldn't mind having more often. It was also, his mind supplied in a flash of inspiration, a sensation that would be vastly improved by the removal of not only Yugi's clothing, but also of the rough towel still draped around Yami's hips.

Yugi sat up to put his brilliant plan in motion. Yami's murmur of protest as he moved away turned into a hum of approval when Yugi swept away the towel, then yanked off his own shirt. He tossed the shirt onto the floor and found Yami's hands already tugging at his boxers. Yugi flopped obligingly onto his back and let Yami divest him of his remaining clothing. Yami's fingertips teased the bare skin of Yugi's thighs as he slid the boxers free and, in spite of the heat, Yugi shivered.

"All right?"

Yugi looked up into concerned brown eyes, arched into the strong hand that returned to caress his flank, and hissed, "Yesss."

Yami's concern morphed into visible delight. He resumed his exploration of Yugi's exposed body, each light caress igniting a comet-trail of pleasure beneath Yugi's skin. Yugi rolled onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow so he could loop an arm over Yami and stroke his palm from Yami's nape to his hips. Yami expressed his approval by leaning into Yugi and tasting a particularly sensitive bit of skin where Yugi's neck met his shoulder. He bit gently, teasing, sucking until Yugi arched into him, eyes falling shut at the delicious sensations.

Yami, Yugi decided when he could think again, had some rather clever ideas of his own. Then Yami tilted his hips just so, and their bodies came together with a delicious friction that wiped all other considerations from Yugi's mind. A second later, when Yami's hand found its way between them and curled around Yugi's erection, he nearly levitated off the bed. "Yami!"

Yami made a faint, breathless sound that might have been a chuckle. "Yes, aibou?"

"Do that again!"

This time, there was no mistaking the deep laugh that rumbled in Yami's chest as he obliged. "You sure you weren't the pharaoh?"

"You--" Annoyance scattered like confetti in the wind when Yami made a twisting, sliding motion with his hand, and every nerve ending Yugi possessed informed him this was A Very Good Thing. He clutched at Yami's shoulders and, in a husky voice, groaned, "Shut up and kiss me, you royal idiot."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

"Hey, I'm not the-- mmph!" Yugi suddenly found his mouth otherwise occupied in mid-protest, but somehow couldn't bring himself to care. He melted into the kiss. "Mmm."

Heat suffused Yugi's body, the same golden warmth he had felt back in the tomb when Yami healed him. Everywhere that Yami touched him seemed to come alive with desire. Yugi's eyes flew open in surprise. "Yami!"

"Hm?" Yami sounded distracted, not bothering to look up from lavishing tender kisses on Yugi's chest. He seemed determined to kiss every inch of Yugi's skin -- a noble goal, to be certain, and one Yugi was reluctant to divert him from. But--

"I can feel your magic," Yugi whispered, awed by the concept, and dropped his head back to give Yami better access. The touch of Yami's hands, his lips, his magic… It all felt so gooood.

Yami froze, hands sliding away from Yugi's body. He raised his head and stared at Yugi. "What?"

"Your magic. I can feel it when you touch me." Yugi frowned. He really hadn't meant for Yami to stop. Unfortunately, Yugi had a tendency to blurt out whatever thought popped into his head when he was sufficiently distracted -- and Yami was very good at distracting him. "Can we finish this conversation later?"

"You started it," Yami pointed out. Yugi hated it when he used that oh-so-reasonable tone.

He not-pouted up at his lover. "Yami, now is not the time to be logical."

Yami, however, wasn't swayed. "What do you mean you 'felt my magic'?"

"Like before, when you healed me, back in the tomb." Yugi sighed. Looked as if they were going to have this conversation after all. "You said you used the Items' power, but you don't have any of them now, and the magic feels the same."

Yami's brow furrowed as he gave the matter serious consideration. "I can barely accept that magic exists, much less that I possess it. I still can't really control it, and I have very little idea how it works. Maybe…" He fell silent for a moment, obviously thinking hard. Finally, he gave a minute shrug. "I don't know, Yugi. Maybe my… magic… just didn't trust the Items to help you without a little supervision. Right now, it seems to be mostly responding to my emotions…"

The crease between Yami's brows deepened. "The magic… It didn't hurt you, did it?"

"No!" Yugi could feel his cheeks burning. He was in bed with the man, naked and flushed with passion, and Yami could still make him blush. Because, while Yugi might babble during sex, but he didn't like to talk about it. "You didn't hurt me. In fact, it, uh… It feels …nice."

A rather smug expression stole across Yami's face. "Yeah?"

"Um. Yeah…" Yugi drew out the second word, ducking his chin and hiding behind his bangs. He looked up through his lashes. "Really… nice."

Yami's smug look blossomed into a full-blown grin. "Maybe this magic thing isn't so bad, after all," he murmured, then lowered his head to take Yugi in his mouth. Yugi gasped and arched, hands flailing for a moment before fisting in the sheets.

"Gngh!" Yugi panted, thrusting up before Yami's hand caught his hip and held him still. Sparks flew across his closed eyelids, followed by a golden heat that started in his center and spilled out to fill every cell of his body, searing away all thoughts of "how" and "why."

Then Yami did something with his tongue -- and his magic -- and all Yugi knew was heat, and Yami, and a cresting wave of pleasure that stole even incoherent thought.


Some time later -- hours, days, Yugi wasn't quite sure and, in his hazy satisfaction, didn't much care -- he snuggled against Yami's side and prepared to drift off to a blissful sleep.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, something stirred, disturbing his contentment. Huh?

I'm glad you're alive, Mutou, grated Seto's "voice" in Yugi's head. Because when you get back to Japan, I'm going to kill you.

Seto sounded like he might actually mean it this time, but it would take more than mental death threats to burst Yugi's bubble. …'kay.

Are you even listening to me? Seto demanded, then answered his own question without waiting for Yugi to respond. No, of course not. You're barely even awake. Now. When it's not going to do me any good. Well, don't say I didn't warn you, because I will have my revenge. When you get back to Japan, I'm going to swap every tube of hair gel you own with depilatory and-- Mutou? Do you hear me? Mutou!

But Yugi had ceased to listen. Too busy basking in the afterglow, and in Yami's warm presence beside him, to do more than drift into peaceful dreams, that was exactly what he did.


Yami wasn't sure what had woken him from a satiated sleep. He lay for a moment without moving, feeling the warm presence curled up beside him. Yugi had wrapped himself around Yami in his sleep, an action Yami found he heartily approved of. In fact, he would be content to wake up with Yugi like this for the rest of their lives.

He was about to tuck his free arm more firmly around Yugi and go back to sleep when a strange sense of foreboding washed over him. Yami shivered, suddenly wide eyes searching the gloom. What…?

Then he saw them. Tendrils of shadow, blacker than the surrounding darkness, creeping toward the bed from every corner of the room. They coiled and writhed like ethereal snakes twining through the air. Uncomfortably reminded of the wraiths in the tomb, Yami stared at the encroaching darkness. His breath caught in his throat as every hair on his body stood on end. The air took on the heavy, actinic taste he had come to recognize as the presence of magic. Heart pounding, he tightened his arms around his still-sleeping partner.

"Yugi?" He kept his voice low, hoping not to draw the attention of the shadows. Their progress remained slow but steady, seeming to gain confidence as they drifted nearer to the bed. "Yugi, wake up. I think… I think we need to get out of here. Now."

"Huh?" Yugi blinked sleepy eyes at him and tried to stifle a huge yawn. "Wha-? Yami?"

"Aibou, we--"

The shadows surrounded the bed. Thick tendrils lapped at the air above them, like the tongue of a snake tasting their scents. Yami wished his brain would stop with the reptilian metaphors already, because it was all too easy to imagine one of those tendrils striking like a cobra and sinking shadowy fangs into--

As if triggered by the thought, one of the tendrils whipped at Yugi. Black coils wrapped around him, pinning him to the mattress as more shadows poured onto the bed to aid their comrade. Before Yami could even move, they had completely covered Yugi in a dense ebon pall, hiding him from sight.

"No! Yugi!" Yami forced himself to think past the horror that tried to freeze him in place. With no thought for his own safety, he shoved his hands into the mass of shadows covering Yugi and found… nothing. Even as he scrabbled frantically at the sheets, the shadows dissipated, blowing away like mist on a non-existent wind. Alone on the bed, Yami stared at the wrinkles in the sheet that were the only indication Yugi had lain there only seconds before.

"Aibou…" Yami clutched the sheet, pulling it up to his face. The faint, clean scent of Yugi's skin clung to the worn fabric. He inhaled deeply, fighting for control as his emotions threatened to overwhelm him. Grief, anger, fear -- His eyes burned with unshed moisture as he crushed the sheet in his fists. He could not let his fear for Yugi prevent him from acting.

Yami raised his head, unaware of the golden "eye" gleaming in the center of his forehead. A fierce resolve filled him. Magic had taken Yugi from him.

No matter what it took, Yami was going to get him back.

The End

(To be continued in the sequel, "Reflections in the Nile", coming soon.)

Author's Note: Please don't kill me. I rewrote this epilogue so many times it isn't funny... and this is the way it had to end. I will start posting the sequel soon-ish. I currently have four other Yugioh novels in the works, not counting "Chariots of the Gods" (the fanfic that ate my brain), but if there is enough demand, I will move "Reflections in the Nile" to the head of the queue. In the meantime, Kitt Yuehana has some fanfic for "Shadows on the Nile" posted, so be sure to check out her profile (look under my favorites for the link) for a cute "prequel" story.

Ankh, udja, seneb, y'all. ;)