Authoress: Moondalian
Editor: Tavi
Summary: AU: After an accident in his youth, Yuugi gains the ability to transform into a lion at will. Now, at the age of 17 and with Egypt in great danger, he must use his powers to help Atemu save the country. All is not what it seems though.
Pairings: AtemuxYuugi, MalikxMariku, RyouxBakura, SethxJou
Dedication: S2Teennovelist

Howdy people! This fic has been on my computer for ages… and for a very long time I had no idea where I wanted to go with it so it just stayed there, taking up space and not being finished. A while back I finally figured out what I wanted though, so here it is! I've got it done up to chap 4 though, so I have no idea if the weekly updates I usually keep up with will last much longer beyond that. I'll try though.
Also, this fic is dedicated to my favourite reviewer ever: S2Teennovelist. Your reviews rule and love getting them, so this fic is officially dedicated to you now.
Well, I'll just stop nagging now and let you people get on with it. R&R folks!

--: Prologue :--

"Yuugi, please watch out where you're going!" A 10-year old Yuugi rolled his eyes at his grandfather's words, the preteen obviously thinking nothing could happen. His grandfather was just too concerned about him; he was only going to play outside; what could possibly go wrong?

"I will Grandpa!" Yuugi sighed as more warnings came from his grandfather, waiting patiently until the older man would be done. Nodding as the speech finally ended, Yuugi quickly fled the small house before his grandfather could start again, and ran into the town he lived in, off to find his three best friends.

It didn't take long to find his friends playing tag near the outskirts of the city so as not to disturb anyone. Sneaking up behind a white-haired boy who was currently giggling at the two blondes chasing one another, Yuugi threw his arms around the other's neck, yelling: "I'm here!" happily. Both boys tumbled to the ground and Yuugi couldn't resist but to laugh at the shocked expression on his friend's face.

"Yuugi! Don't do that!" Yuugi laughed more and the two blondes that had been chasing each other stopped to look in their direction, before also bursting out into laughter at the sight of their white-haired friend.

"Sorry Ryou, I just couldn't resist." The boy beneath Yuugi pouted, but didn't say anything. Yuugi smiled and got off his friend before helping the other up.

"Come on Ry, ya know ya can't glare for your life, it only makes ya look cute." Both Yuugi and Ryou looked at the two blondes now standing next to them, obviously having given up on the game of tag they'd been playing.

Ryou sighed and let the 'glare' falter, "I know Jou, I know." A real pout came back onto his face, making him look even cuter.

The remaining blonde burst into laughter again at this sight, before hugging his friend, "We still love you no matter what." The blond grinned, making him look a little psychotic, and Ryou smiled at his friend. "So what took you so long Yuugi? We've been waiting for ages!"

Yuugi smiled, "You know Grandpa - he needs to give me a speech about being careful every time I go out. How come your sister never does that to you, Malik?" Yuugi pouted slightly, and being just as cute looking as Ryou in that state, Malik had trouble holding back the fit of laughter that was dying to be let out.

"Isis is just too busy all the time to really notice me leaving. And if she does notice, I usually walk out on the speech before I fall asleep." Malik shrugged at the two wondering looks Yuugi and Ryou gave him – knowing his two friends would never even think of walking out like that – before grinning at the smirking Jou next to him. "Anyway, we were planning on playing hide and seek but since you weren't here yet, we started a game of tag instead. What do you want to do? Tag or hide and seek?"

Yuugi's expression turned cheerful again, "Hide and seek!" he exclaimed happily as he heard the name of his favourite game. The others laughed a little at the enthusiasm Yuugi used, before nodding eagerly, "And Malik can start." It was Yuugi's turn to laugh as Malik pouted, but the other didn't say anything against it.

As Malik started to count slowly, the other three friends scrambled away to find a good hiding spot. Jou hid in an alley not far from where Malik was counting, Ryou ran towards a cluster of trees and hid in the shadows while keeping a watchful eye on Malik. Yuugi, on the other hand, decided to give Malik a bit of a hard time finding him, and ran off into the desert a bit, hiding behind a few rocks so no one would see him, even though he was already quite far away and trees masked his position.

Slowly Yuugi let himself sink to the ground, waiting for Malik to come looking for him, although he knew it would take a while. Both Jou and Ryou had seen him run off further into the desert so they'd probably be laughing at Malik's futile attempts at finding him, before at long last giving Malik a few hints… Well, Ryou would give those hints anyway; he was too kind to taunt anyone for long. Jou on the other hand would just keep laughing the entire time, unless he decided to give false hints.

After a while Yuugi started to wonder what was taking Malik so long, but figured that Jou had managed to keep Ryou quiet for once. He lay down on the soft sand and turned his head so he could stare at the grand palace where the Pharaoh lived. The palace was as beautiful as ever, and Yuugi immediately zoned out, dreaming about how it would be like to live there, or even work there. He was so caught up in his daydreams that he didn't hear people approaching him, nor did he hear the conversation starting right on the other side of the rocks he was hiding. It took him a few minutes before the words managed to get through to his mind, and Yuugi snapped back to reality.

"… -all the money?"

"Yes, now do as promised; kill all those rebels."

Yuugi blinked at the words before recognizing the second voice to be that of the Pharaoh, although the first one was unfamiliar. Slowly he glanced over the top of the rock to see a man covered completely in robes so every inch of his body was covered – obviously to hide his identity – talking to the great and mighty Pharaoh. Yuugi eyes also fell on the scowling form of a boy about his age, and had to hold in a gasp as he noted the similarity between himself and the other.

They had the same spiked up hair and facial features, with the exception that the other's hair was tipped in crimson and had blonde lightning shaped bangs going up his ebony black hair, where his own hair was tipped in amethyst and had no blonde going through the black. Also, the other's face seemed to be more angular, although still in a childish sort of way. Their eyes were different too, as the other's eyes were a bit more narrow and crimson, whereas his eyes were more round and amethyst. Still, the resemblance was undeniable, and they could easily pass for brothers.

"Very well, nice doing business with you, Your Majesty." The man covered in robes stalked off towards a black horse not far from where they were, before riding off into the desert. Yuugi glanced back at the duo in front of him to see his look-alike glaring at his father for all he was worth.

"Stop looking at me like that, Atemu. This is necessary." the Pharaoh spoke coldly, obviously not caring about whatever it was he had just done. The younger's glare intensified at those words, not agreeing one bit with his elder.

"No it wasn't. You could try negotiating with the rebels instead of having them killed." Yuugi's eyes widened at realizing what the conversation had been about and why the Pharaoh had given the other man money. A gasp escaped his mouth before he could even try and stop himself, and two sets of eyes turned to lock, immediately spotting him.

"Well, well, well, I believe we found a little eavesdropper." Yuugi gulped and stumbled back at the cold words, his eyes still wide and filled with fear now. The Pharaoh had just ordered a man to kill the rebels, so what would keep him from killing anyone who knew of this? In Yuugi's opinion, nothing.

Yuugi's mind quickly went over his options as the Pharaoh stepped around the rock to look him over, his face quickly turning to an expression of disgust. He could call out to his friends, but seeing as the Pharaoh was wearing the Millennium Puzzle, Yuugi had an idea that they wouldn't stand a chance and he'd only get them into danger. He could try running away, but the older man would certainly catch him within no time.

Fear grew in him as he realized that he had no other choice but to wait and see what the Pharaoh would do to him. Seeing the expression on the Pharaoh's face though, didn't exactly reassure a non-painful solution to this.

"Leave him alone, Father." Yuugi glanced at the growling preteen stepping around the rock, his crimson eyes still set in a glare that was intensifying by the minute.

"Stay out of this, Atemu." Yuugi flinched at the harsh tone used between father and son, wondering why the Prince and his father were speaking so hatefully to each other.

After a few moments of glaring at each other, the Pharaoh broke the contest and turned his glare on Yuugi, making the young one flinch visibly again. "You were eavesdropping, weren't you? You're with the rebels, aren't you?!"

Yuugi's eyes widened even more, fear clearly visible for everyone to see, before shaking his head vigorously, "No! I-I was just… and then…" Too nervous to make a coherent sentence, Yuugi turned pleading amethyst eyes up to meet those of the Pharaoh, hoping to let the man know that he was innocent like that.

The Pharaoh though, took the look as that of someone confessing his guilt, and trying to beg for his life.

"You insolent runt! How dare you even look at me?!" Yuugi cowered and stumbled backwards as the Millennium Puzzle around Pharaoh Aknunkanon's neck glowed, responding to the obvious anger of its master. Clenching his eyes shut, Yuugi prepared to be killed by the great magic within the Millennium Item, knowing there was no way to protect himself from it.

A moment passed and instead of being killed, Yuugi heard someone stumbling and falling to the ground as an angry voice growled lowly.

"You will not harm him!" Yuugi quickly snapped his eyes back open to see the young Prince lying on top of his father, an aura of rage seemingly beaming off the young one.

Wide amethyst eyes met angry narrowed crimson for a moment as Prince Atemu glanced back, the anger in the crimson orbs seeming to dim down as they locked, before the Prince was thrown off his father.

"Run!" Yuugi hesitated for a minute, but then complied with the obvious order the Prince had given. Quickly getting to his feet, Yuugi ran further into the desert as fast as he could, not wanting to endanger his friends by running to them. His eyes were clenched tightly and tears were slowly making their way down his face. The Prince had saved him. If it hadn't been for Atemu, the Pharaoh would've killed him there. Yuugi promised himself there and then that if there was ever a way to help Atemu, he would grab the chance and do everything in his power to help.

It wasn't long before Yuugi could hear someone following him though, and hearing the angry voice of Pharaoh Aknunkanon, Yuugi's body went into overdrive, adrenaline pumping through his veins to try and keep him from dying.

Yuugi opened his eyes, hoping to find something that could help him get away from the 'madman' – as Yuugi had now officially dubbed the 'great' Pharaoh. What met his eyes though made not only him, but his heart stop as well.

A beautiful majestic lion with golden brown fur that shimmered with the rays of Ra was standing not too far away from him, the gleam in the mighty animal's eyes showing interest and hunger. Yuugi remembered his grandfather telling him about the lion living in the desert and telling him not to go out too far.

Glancing back, Yuugi saw the Pharaoh stop not to far behind him, so now neither way was anywhere near safe. His eyes widened in fear once more, realizing he was really going to die and there wasn't anyone to save him this time.

"Well, well, well, you worked yourself into quite the mess, haven't you?" The Pharaoh smirked in a predatory way, much like how the lion was looking at Yuugi at the moment. Magic slowly started to swirl around the mighty king as a shadowy aura appeared around him. Before Yuugi could do anything, both the lion and the magic of the Millennium Puzzle shot towards him.

At the same time as the lion struck its prey, the magic of the Puzzle hit as well. Nothing but pain consumed the small preteen, before his entire world blacked out and he gave into the darkness that would probably take him to the afterlife.

The Pharaoh grinned maniacally as not only the brat, but also the lion crumpled to the ground. It seemed his magic had not only killed the boy but the menace that had been killing his people as well. The lion had been a gift from some nearby country – he hadn't bothered to remember which one – but had escaped its prison. Since then, it had managed to survive in the desert by killing those who it came across. Not that he really cared about what the lion had done, but it was an added bonus for now. Besides, the lion had been a nice excuse to start a war once more.

Hearing the gasp behind him, Pharaoh Aknunkanon turned around to see his son staring at the two forms with wide eyes, sorrow, anger, hate, and pity filling his eyes at the same time. Sorrow and pity, for the two lying on the sands of the desert, and anger and hate towards his father for doing such a thing.

"How could you?!" The Pharaoh didn't even bother to answer his son's question and just slapped the boy across the face for even daring to disobey him. The preteen fell to the ground, some tears making their way across his cheeks. Whether it was because of the slap or because of what his father had done to the boy and lion, only Atemu knew.

"We are going back to the palace. You will not speak a word of what happened today ever again. You will start listening to me and you will never disobey me again. Do I make myself clear?" Atemu didn't answer, refusing to agree to whatever his father said, but not wanting to get beaten up again.

The Pharaoh just narrowed his eyes, before dragging his son away, not caring one bit about what had just happened.

Pain, it was all Yuugi could feel, think, sense. It blocked out his hearing and made sure he couldn't open his eyes, and for a second Yuugi was sure he had either died, or was at least dying. That was until three familiar voices suddenly echoed through his mind, somehow managing to cut through the pain.

"Is he alright?"

"What do you think genius? Of course he's not alright!"

"Don't yell at Ryou, Malik. We're all just worried about Yuug."

Yuugi tried to focus on the voices, trying not to slip back into the darkness that he'd been lying in for so long now. Were that Ryou, Malik and Jou? But… if he could hear them… then he wasn't dead!

"Well he's been out for a week! How do we know he's really going to make it?!"

"Because he just can't die…"

Yuugi tried desperately to open his eyes, to wake up from the half-unconscious state he was in. He had to let them know he was okay, aside from all the pain of course.

Slowly amethyst managed to reveal itself from behind heavy eyelids as Yuugi slowly came back to the world of the waking. His vision was blurry, he still hurt all over, but at least he could see the shapes and colours of his three friends standing next to the bed.

"Gu-ys." All eyes turned to the softly whispered word, all eyes wide and shocked that their friend had finally woken up after so long.

"Yuug! You're awake! Thank Ra!" Jou, being as careless as he was, had to be held back by Ryou and Malik so he wouldn't hurt Yuugi by even so much as touching him. Yuugi smiled softly through his pain, amused by his friend's antics.

"What happened?"

"Well, we were hoping you could tell us. We found you in the desert, the dead body of a lion draped over you." Malik eyed his friend in concern, a slight protective streak building up inside of him. Why had his friend been out there so far? What was up with the lion? And why had he been hurt so badly all over? Sure, most of the wounds had healed by now, but some bad ones where still marring his skin, tainting the slightly tanned flesh.

"I…" Yuugi thought for a second about what had happened, the memories of that day flooding back into his mind. Yuugi wondered if he should even tell his friends what had happened, as it wouldn't make much of a difference and only worry them further. "…don't remember anymore."

Malik looked at him suspiciously, but didn't push the matter any further, knowing his friend wasn't going to say anything more than this even if there was more to tell.

"Uhm, guys? I think we should let him rest now. It's pretty late anyway so we should be heading home." Malik and Jou nodded at their friend's words, before all three said their 'goodbye's and 'goodnight's. Yuugi watched as all three left with a sad smile on his face, mentally apologizing for lying to them.

Not long after his friends had left, his grandfather also came in to see him. After a few relieved and strict words, the man also questioned what had happened out in the desert. Yuugi, with even more guilt than before, gave the same answer as he had given his friends. His grandfather seemed doubtful, but didn't question any further. After a while the man left to let Yuugi rest, seeing as the boy still needed to heal more.

Yuugi curled up in the bed, wincing at the pain the movements caused him. His thoughts went back to what had happened, and he wondered how he had survived the attack of both a lion and the magic of the Millennium Puzzle. It seemed to be impossible, yet he had done it somehow.

His thoughts then turned to the young Prince that had saved him the first time. After what Yuugi had seen of the Pharaoh, he was sure that the Prince had paid the price for that action. Was the other alright? How hard had the Pharaoh punished him? Was… would the Pharaoh kill his own son?

Yuugi shook his head; he couldn't think that way. Atemu had to be fine. The Pharaoh couldn't just kill him.

On the other hand, torture was much worse than death.

Tears streamed down Yuugi's face and he sobbed softly, guilty that it was because of him that the Prince was being punished in the first place. If he hadn't run so far into the desert just to hide, none of this would've happened. He wouldn't have been almost killed. Atemu wouldn't have gotten punished. Nothing would've been wrong.

Anger took over Yuugi next. The Pharaoh shouldn't even be punishing the Prince for being kind and trying to help someone. How come no one knew what kind of person the Pharaoh really was? The man should be punished instead of his son.

Soft magic suddenly swirled around Yuugi and his eyes snapped open at the strange sensation. His eyes widened as he saw the golden magic all around him, but he was too weak to cry out for help, even in reaction to the fact that the magic was there. Only soft strangled sounds came from him as the magic started to change him somehow. His body glowed briefly, before the magic completely overtook the struggling preteen on the bed.

Slowly the magic dissipated and amethyst eyes that had closed in fear before opened in apprehension. There was something very different… For one, his pain seemed to have lessened. For two, he felt… stranger.

Yuugi wanted to sit up, but found himself unable to. Glancing down at himself, Yuugi's eyes widened again as he saw something he hadn't expected.

Instead of his normal body, that of a lion with ebony black fur was there now. As Yuugi looked further, he saw that everything about him had changed into the appearance of a lion with ebony black fur and golden blonde manes that held an amethyst sheen to them.

Not able to deal with all that had happened, Yuugi fainted.

And there's the prologue. Hope you all enjoyed and
for those who don't completely understand what happened to Yuugi, it'll be explained a bit further on. .. or at least I hope so °sweatdrops° Anyway, Review people!