Author's Note: This is actually an idea that has been floating around in my head for a year now, and I finally got off of my rear and wrote it after watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. (Don't ask me how that's relevant… just thought I'd mention it.)
Warnings: Zomg, prideshipping! O.o (WTF, I know!) And heavy hints of implied puzzleshipping.
"I don't believe it."
As he said it, his large pale hand clenched around the metal mesh of interlocking rings, making the fencing shudder and screech. Cold blue eyes narrowed in irritation as he pulled his sharp gaze from the concrete ground, skimming over the Domino City horizon… But he did not see the glistening slats of skyscraper, or the gleam of the business building windows, or the glow of the apartment rooftops. He saw something else, something far beyond—
Beyond his reach, beyond his touch, beyond the realm of any mere mortal—even a mortal as significant as a priest like himself. And yet, at the same time, right there… boasting that feral grin of his, that teasing leer. That smirk that made the prince's eyes sparkle with life and laughter and lust, and by the gods there was nothing in the world more beautiful.
"I don't believe any of it!"
His teeth gnashed and ground; it was a sound that made the other wince a bit in pain. Otherwise, however, he made no sound, no move… Rather, he stood there in silence and watched the taller man: gaze unobtrusive and patient, but oh, so knowing. So telling. So dark…
Dark. Dark like the empty room around them, lit only by the weak moonlight radiating down from the silver sliver hovering in the navy-blue sky. But despite the dark, his eyes were bright: luminous orbs of ruby in the midnight hours. A cat's. An appropriate comparison for the deity before him, he assumed... especially one as playful and powerful as Atem.
With a snarl, Kaiba spun away from the fence, from the view—whirled to face the quiet spirit who stood near the doorway and stairway beyond. He had his own body now, one of toned limbs, sun-kissed skin, and maroon eyes. Just like…
"No!" Growling, the young CEO gripped his face in his hands, forcing himself to take a deep, shuddering breath. The sights behind his eyes nearly made his stomach turn, and yet… "It didn't happen! All of this is a load of—!"
"Then why did you call me here, Kaiba?"
They laughed like children—though they were no longer children, they were 15— and muffled each giggle with a kiss. And every kiss would linger, last longer, until soon neither seemed able to pull away: moaning and pawing desperately at the other, sliding down the marble walls with a degree of eagerness that they would have been punished for during studies.
"Set…" the prince breathed, all but hissing the name in his cousin's ear. The moist heat of the word made Set quiver with need. "Set—!"
Kaiba swallowed harshly, resisting the urge to rub away the echoing sensations; he fisted his hands at his side.
"Well?" Yami prompted, his voice deep and calm and irritatingly casual—as always. He waited just footsteps away, motionless beside the door; he draped his arms leisurely against a jutted hip and cocked his head to the right. "What was it you wanted to discuss with me?"
The taller man sneered, straightening, unfurling, and effectively towering over the second man. "Not discuss," he spat, as if revolted by the mere suggestion. "I have nothing to discuss with you. I have a demand!"
Yami arched a thin eyebrow, clearly trying to suppress amusement. "A demand?"
"And where do you get off demanding me…?"
A coy titter, a roaming finger—trailing lower and lower and lower…
"I am the morning and the evening star," Atem purred, gazing up at Set with half-lidded eyes burning with passion. It was an expression that always had and always would bring the boy to his knees. "And when I say to bend over, you bend over."
The priest winced, prepared to be petulant. "But you always get to be on top!" he snapped half-heartedly, fully aware that he stood no chance against his future king.
The prince cackled wickedly, already pushing his lover to the floor. "Morning and the evening star, remember…?"
Kaiba's lip curled; he stood his ground as if preparing for battle. "I demand that you get these—these illusions—out of my head!"
He knew how ridiculous that sounded even before he spoke the words, but the way he glowered made it clear that he thought it was no laughing matter.
Regardless, Yami blinked, nonplused. "Illusions?" he repeated, crossing his arms over his chest in a nonchalant sort of way. His indifference only served to further annoy Kaiba.
"Like the hallucinations Ishizu forced on me before Battle City," Kaiba clarified with furious vigor, the pure venom of his hatred penetrating his every gesture, every sound. "Only these are worse—they won't go away! Stupid dreams of me in some stupid palace learning some stupid trade, stuck with you! And you and I, we—!"
His lithe body was slick with sweat, his voice husky and sweet and oh, everything about him made Set want him all the more. The world around them was meaningless, but perfect; loud, but quiet; black—then blinding, brilliant white.
They collapsed as one, breathing shallow and erratic, as the cool walls and shadowed statues slowly came back into pleasure-drenched focus.
Face smooth with interest, Yami watched intently as his normally articulate friend seemed to choke on words; soon, a look of dawning comprehension slid onto the ancient pharaoh's face.
"Your memories are returning…" he murmured, more to himself than to Kaiba, who wouldn't have believed him anyway. "Why—? Though I suppose it makes sense, as I've unlocked mine. It seems only natural that yours would return, too."
Memories? Memories returning?
Unsurprisingly, the CEO scoffed. "What nonsense are your blathering about?!" Seto demanded, his voice snide and dour. And yet, somewhere deep inside, he felt like it might break. Why?! "These aren't memories. They're not magic. But I do know that they are somehow your fault, and I demand that you put an end to it! Distracting me with these nauseating delusions isn't going to change anything between us; I will still defeat you and reclaim my title, I will still think that you and your loser friends are repulsive, and I will still hate everything to do with Egypt!"
He waited for Yami's scathing response.
…but it never came. Yami simply stood there, saying nothing, his stare steady and—Kaiba was horrified to see—heavy with pity.
"I love you…"
The words, as always, made the priest's heart swell with warmth and pride, but he snorted and turned his face away to hide his flush. Atem chuckled, curling closer to his lover's warmth and moving his lips gently along the other's bared throat.
"I do, you know…" he said more insistently, though still in a vague, sleepy kind of way. "And I'll love you forever, I should think…until the end of time."
Set pondered this for a moment, resting his head atop the mussed tresses of the prince. "How could you possibly know that?" he asked, wrinkling his nose in a childish display of impudence. "Is that even possible? And honestly, do you really think we'll live that long? You're just being an idiot."
Atem snickered, lightly smacking his cousin for his insolence. "Shut up—you're such an ass about everything… This is why I'm never sappy."
"Thank the gods."
"I'm sorry," Yami said gently, his scarlet eyes soft with sincerity. "You were right, I suppose… I couldn't love you until the end of time. I didn't understand then how long eternity is. And you and I…"
He trailed off helplessly, the guilt plain on his face.
It wasn't what Kaiba wanted to see.
"I don't care about that!" the young company president gagged, very close to lifting Yami by the lapels and physically shaking some sense into him. "I just—I just want the stupid dreams to go away!"
The laughter returned, tired now—spent. And as they drifted into light slumber, Set remained bitingly aware that he hadn't said it today, either. Again the future pharaoh had told him that he loved him; again Set had brushed it off with some wry comeback.
Tomorrow, the priest mentally decided—as he had the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that… I'll tell him tomorrow.
But that tomorrow came and went, too… and then there was another tomorrow, and a second, and a third…
The resurrected pharaoh shrugged sadly, helplessly, at his wealthy acquaintance. "I am sorry," he apologized a second time. "But I have no idea how to keep the memories from coming. I have no idea why they are so unbearably strong in you. Things are no longer as they were, so there is no reason for your flashbacks… unless there's something you are not telling me?"
He waited; with a startling flash of light behind his eyes, Kaiba's mind seemed to explode with colors and images: Yami. Yugi. The way they'd smile at each other; their teamwork. The way they made him want to puke—to hurt—to scream. Ever since the first day. The irrationality of it all…! The way their bodies meshed so perfectly in a hug; his thoughts when he met each man. The de ja vu—but that was only because of Yami's resemblance to Yugi, right? Right? The ridiculous amount of unexplained hatred and bitterness he carried for the lovers; the gentle guidance Yami showed his hikari, the care and consideration Kaiba had never received from anyone but for years had secretly coveted. The pain—the reasons he refused to be close to anyone. Ever.
The answers to why he'd built a fortress around himself…
And then tomorrow stopped coming.
And through all of this, Yami waited. Quietly, unwearyingly, until finally, a single word flashed through Kaiba's mind, the clear and obvious answer: regret.
But he would never say that. Not ever.
With a huff and a sneer, Kaiba straightened and glowered—looming over the shorter man with a frustratingly familiar aura of arrogance. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he growled, sweeping past Yami and through the door, clanging down the metal steps to the first-floor landing.
But though he tried to block them, though he tried to force them back, the visions just kept coming: the excitement, the thrill, the fear, the hurt…
"I am truly sorry, Kaiba," Yami was whispering, his voice carrying from the school roof and down to Kaiba's ears. "But it would never work between us now. That was lifetimes ago… we're too different in this era. I have Yugi—a love that I know will last forever, because I have lived forever. And you have… well, I am still not sure what. Your work? Your family? Your bitterness…?"
A sigh: a sigh as timeless and grave as if the air itself had breathed it. "What happened to you, Set…?"
Kaiba's jaw locked painfully, his iced eyes slits of ageless vehemence. He broke, the young man thought before he could stop himself.
Because tomorrow never came again.