Title: Someone, Somewhere 1/2
Warning: Slash, AU
Author's Note: This was inspired by the Summer Song Spinner challenge at Pharaoh's Palace (and obviously I didn't make the deadline), and is part of my 'Book of Tales' series.
Disclaimer- Yu-Gi-Oh is the property of Kazuki Takahashi. This was written for entertainment purposes only and no profit is being made from it.
Somewhere there is some place, that one million eyes can't see/ And somewhere there is someone, who can see what I can see
Excerpt from "Someone, Somewhere in Summertime" by Simple Minds
Golden skin, flashes of crimson, a struggle for position and a soft sigh. Lips warm and demanding; bodies moving in familiar rhythms; a growl of need. Tight slick heat, muscles flexing, a voice crying out in ecstasy…
Seto Kaiba snapped awake, disoriented by the sound of his own harsh breathing. He groaned and fell back, grimacing when the present day asserted itself through the sudden annoying buzz of an alarm clock. Seto slapped the alarm into submission then stared at the ceiling.
The vision had been so vivid that Seto was having trouble reconciling it with where he was now. What he had seen had happened in a life that was not his own and had simply been triggered by the sight of the airline reservations Solomon Motou had made yesterday. Seto had hardly been surprised by the reservations; now that Atemu had regained all his memories, it was time for him to pass on into the afterlife to insure the dark god, Zorc Necrophades, remained locked away forever.
There would be no goodbyes. He knew what was coming, and was in complete agreement with Seth— the spirit that had been held within the Millennium Rod and the one whose life was currently intruding on his own. They would not add to Atemu's burden by trying to see him one last time. Seth had gotten the second chance he had been promised, and Seto wasn't about to ask Atemu to stay for such a selfish reason as love. Pharaoh was bound by duty, and duty was something Seto understood all too well. The Rod had been returned to Atemu, and the final prophecy would be fulfilled, and Seto would go back to the life he'd had before all this nonsense had screwed it up.
Seto shifted and realized he was still hard from the vision. He reached down and quickly stroked himself off, shuddering as he came, and then lay spent and empty, watching the morning light stretch across the ceiling as he silently cursed those who had cast the sealing spell on Atemu in the first place.
By the time Mokuba had come to his room to tell him the limo had arrived to take them to Kaiba Corp headquarters, Seto was dressed and more than ready to leave. The sunlight that had filled the room had faded, washed away by a steady grey downpour. The rain suited Seto's mood perfectly. He could tell, by the way Mokuba watched him as they rode into the city, that he suspected something was up. Seto ignored him. There was no reason to burden Mokuba with his problem, Mokuba would only try to stop what had to be and when he failed, would blame himself for the rest of his life for Seto's unhappiness. Seto was not about to let that happen. So instead of talking to Mokuba, he spent the ride typing up a rough draft of changes he wanted to make to the Duel Disks and attempted to block out the fact that Atemu had left for Egypt two hours earlier.
As he walked across the lobby outside his office, his mind turning over the best possible ways to test the prototype when it was built, Seto was convinced he had everything under control.
He was wrong.
Seto stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of the female elf standing in the middle of his office— the one who had created the spell that had locked Atemu's spirit in the Millennium Puzzle five millennia ago. He staggered slightly when Mokuba bumped into him, then recovered and noticed the other two figures in the room.
Fury choked him as he stared at his three unwanted guests.
Mystical Elf, Celtic Guardian, Dark Magician.
Ciorstag, Gaighdon, Mahado.
Seto would not have known Ciorstag and Gaighdon names if it had not been for Seth's memories of them. Neither elf quite matched the artwork on the cards they were tied to; Ciorstag's skin only had hints of blue, and Gaighdon— though still wide across the shoulders— was considerably leaner than the illustration Pegasus had painted of him. Only Mahado matched his card, though all three were currently dressed in sensible clothing instead of their more outrageous Duel Monster costumes.
Mokuba leaned around him and looked into the room, a quizzical expression crossing his face. "Uh, big brother? Why are there Duel Monsters standing in your office?"
Instead of responding to Mokuba's question, and ignoring the sudden flare of emotions from Seth— who had remained stuck in Seto's head despite the fact the Rod was probably halfway to Egypt by now— Seto stepped up to the female elf. He leaned into her personal space as he fingered the Blue-eyes White Dragon card in his coat pocket. "Get the fuck out of my office," he hissed through clenched teeth, "before I send you out through the window, Ciorstag."
The woman raised an eyebrow, looking less than impressed by his anger as she crossed her arms and met his gaze. "Well, good to see you too, Seto Kaiba," she said in a voice that held both warning and reprimand.
Seto sensed Gaighdon and Mahado moving forward, but was too pissed to care as he pulled the card out of his pocket, took a step back, and shouted, "Blue-eyes White Drag—"
Ciorstag rolled her eyes. "Exchange!" Seto snarled as his card appeared in Ciorstag's hand. She tucked the card into her belt as she commented, "You really need to shorten that summon command for it to be effective off the dueling field, Seto."
Furious, Seto took a swing at Ciorstag, only to have Gaighdon grab his wrist before he could connect. Expecting that, Kaiba twisted his arm, pulling the elf closer so he could flip him over his hip. Unfortunately, Gaighdon's stance proved too solid for a clean throw and they both ended up hitting the floor together. Seto quickly rolled away and pushed himself to his knees, managing to land a satisfying right hook before Gaighdon could get his arms up to defend himself.
"Oh for Danna's sake," he heard Ciorstag mutter, "Mirror Force!"
Checking his follow-up swing as a shimmering wall appeared between him and Gaighdon; Seto surged to his feet and shouted, "Would you all just get the fuck out of my life!"
"Not until we've fulfilled the promise we made to Seth." Seto glared down at Gaighdon as the elf rose to his feet and rubbed at the blood dripping from his nose. Meeting Seto's glare, he sighed then added, "Or has he forgotten our promise to him after all this time?"
"He already got his second chance," Seto snapped. "Why are you here?"
"Maybe we're here to give you your chance," Ciorstag said.
Seto's hands clenched into fists. "I've already made my choice, I—"
"Have you become such a coward that you are unwilling to risk your heart for him, Seto Kaiba?" Mahado asked softly behind him.
Seto didn't even think. He turned and swung at Mahado, then stopped with his arm at full extension. He could sense Seth's annoyance with his loss of control as he frowned at the sight before him.
Mahado shrugged, obviously unaffected by the fact that Seto's arm was currently sticking right through him. "The events of the last month have not changed the fact that I'm still dead in this world," the magician said. Seto let his arm drop to his side as he studied Mahado's face. The magician stared calmly back, though Seto could see the frustration and hope warring within the Dark Magician's blue eyes; a war that echoed the roiling emotions he was getting from Seth.
Pulling his anger under control, Seto asked, "I'm more than willing to risk my heart, but of what use is it to either of us if I did?"
"We hoped you'd be willing to risk it one more time. I made a serious miscalculation in the spell I cast on Pharaoh five millennia ago," Ciorstag said.
Seto looked over his shoulder. "You miscalculated. So? What has that got to do with me?"
"The spell I cast was flawed; I failed to take the Thief King into account when I sealed Pharaoh's soul into the Puzzle."
"That doesn't tell me a damn thing!"
"We had no choice but to seal Pharaoh's soul away," Gaighdon explained. "He had drawn Zorc into himself to save Seth's soul but didn't have the strength to contain him as long as he was tethered to a mortal vessel. When we agreed to bind Pharaoh's soul to the Millennium Puzzle to stop Zorc and to keep him from using Pharaoh to destroy the world, we did so assuming that all the pieces of the dark lord the Thief King had carried had been absorbed back into Zorc and was being held under Pharaoh's will at the time of the sealing. We were wrong."
Ciorstag nodded. "When Zorc manifested himself in the Memory World to make his final move, he he did so by pulling all aspects of himself out of the vessels that had held him for the last five thousand years including the part that had not been bound to Pharaoh and the Puzzle. It freed Atemu and the Thief King of Zorc's influence. We can now seal the dark lord away forever without having to rebind Atemu's, or anyone else's soul to him."
"I can't help you cast that spell. I'm not Seth." He gave Ciorstag a suspicious look. "And that whole mess with the Memory World happened over a week ago; why have you waiting until now to cast this spell of yours?"
"The old spell continues to tie Atemu to the dark lord. When he is released from the spell that ties him to the Millennium Puzzle—the keystone to the sealing spell— the old spell will be dissolved and the new spell can be put in place."
"That is the second chance that we offered Seth five millennia ago— that Atemu's soul would eventually be freed forever from the Puzzle," Gaighdon said.
Hope flared briefly in Seto's chest, and then died just as quickly. "It doesn't matter. Even if that's true, Atemu won't allow himself to stay bound to Yugi just to remain in this world."
"That problem is an easy one to solve," Mahado said as he walked over to stand beside Ciorstag. When Seto met his gaze, he continued speaking. "Pharaoh never physically died—because of the sealing spell his body was simply absorbed into the Shadow Realms when his soul was separated from his body."
"That is correct," Ciorstag said. She then grimaced. "Atemu however may believe that the only way to insure Zorc stays locked away is to sacrifice himself again, and there's nothing we can do to stop him if he goes down that path. His powers have grown far beyond our own."
Seto knew there was something he was missing. "What, you need me to talk him out of this duel with Yugi?"
"No. Atemu needs to break the bonds that tie him to the Millennium Puzzle and that can only happen when he is defeated by the one who reassembled the Puzzle," Ciorstag said.
"Then what the fuck do you need me for?"
"We cannot bind Atemu's soul to his body until the bond is broken," Gaighdon said. "Since they must duel to break the bond, and because of the nature of this duel, we ourselves will be called into play. We will need time to recover—"
"And you need me to create a distraction to make sure you have that time."
"Yes," Ciorstag said, nodding her head. "That is what we need you for."
"And how exactly am I supposed to do that?"
"I'm sure between you and Seth you'll be able to come up with something to keep Pharaoh from stepping over into the afterlife," Mahado said. Seth responded to the challenge in Mahado's voice by offering up an image of what might work.
Seto just shook his head in exasperation and glared at the knowing smirk that appeared on Mahado's face. The annoying thing was, the idea Seth had suggested was stupid enough to work. Still…
"What will happen to me if I can't stop him?" Seto asked.
Ciorstag drew in a breath and slowly let it out before answering, "I think you know the answer to that one, Seto Kaiba."
Seto looked away from the elf. Yes, he did know the answer to that one. If he agreed to this he'd be playing to win; if he lost, he'd lose everything.
Mokuba took a step forward. "So, wait, are you saying you can give Atemu a body of his own?"
Ciorstag nodded and Mokuba smiled in delight as he looked up at Seto. "That's great! That means the two of you can finally be together!"
Seto's heart lurched in his chest as he stared at Mokuba. Despair filled him as he realized he was trapped between his love for Atemu and his love for Mokuba. To save one, he had to risk the other, and that was something Seto could not do. Seth's presence, now a mix of sorrow and acceptance, receded without question as Seto turned to Ciorstag and said, "I can't help you."
"Seto! You can't—"
Looking down at Mokuba, Seto shook his head and snapped, "I can, and I will." He turned away and started walking out of his office. "I won't risk Mokuba. My decision is final," he said, even as he felt a piece of his soul begin to shrivel and die.
Mokuba grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop. "No you don't. You can't walk away from this! You're going to do this even if it means I have to tie you up and drag you to Egypt myself."
Seto was about to yank his arm out of Mokuba's grip, when he caught what Mokuba had said. Frowning, he asked, "How did you know they wanted me to go to Egypt, Mokuba?"
Mokuba rolled his eyes. "Where else would it be?" He then gave Seto an exasperated look. "And what, you didn't think I'd notice the program you've had running to see if Mr. Motou made any airline reservation? Oh please, I know how you think. There had to be a reason you haven't seen Atemu since you all got back from whatever it was that happened in Egypt and I'm guessing this is it, isn't it?"
"What makes you think you'll be of any use to your brother once Atemu passes into the afterlife anyway, Seto Kaiba?" Ciorstag pointed out.
Seto stared at Ciorstag, and felt his despair grow deeper as he realized she was right. He was simply in denial right now and that wasn't going to last. When he did accept that Atemu was gone, his soul was going to slowly die, leaving him nothing more than a burden that Mokuba would be unable to leave behind.
He couldn't risk Mokuba's safety or his future. Maybe there was another way…
Taking a deep breath, Seto stepped over to stand in front of Ciorstag. "If this doesn't work," he said as he locked gazes with her, "you need to give me your word you'll take care of Mokuba for me."
He heard Mokuba's loud protest that this would work and they wouldn't have to take care of anyone, but Seto refused to look away from Ciorstag. He knew if he did risk his heart again— and failed— there would be no way for him to recover from that loss, no matter how much he loved Mokuba.
Ciorstag gave him a gentle smile of understanding. Seto allowed himself a moment of relief, until Ciorstag said, "No." Seto opened his mouth to protest, but Ciorstag cut him off. "No. It's all or nothing Seto."
"I'm not going to risk Mokuba—"
"Do you really think we can stop him from following you into the afterlife if you lose?" Gaighdon asked reasonably.
"Yeah, what he said," Mokuba stated. He crossed his arms and glared up at Seto. "You're not going to leave me behind, big brother. Someone has to keep an eye on you."
Seto teetered on the edge of hope and despair as Ciorstag rested a hand lightly on top of Mokuba's head and smiled down at him. She then looked at Seto. "Do we have a deal, Seto Kaiba?" she asked in a voice that was calm and serene.
Seto stared at Ciorstag for a moment, and then nodded once, sealing his fate.
"We have a deal."
Seto strode across the tarmac to the gleaming bulk of the BEWD jet. The rain had moved to the south and the air was beginning to heat up under an early summer sun. Mokuba was already in the copilot's seat, and as Seto dropped into place, he almost gave in to the temptation to call the whole thing off. But his soul was bound to Atemu's just as tightly as it was to Mokuba's; Ciorstag had been right when she had said 'It's all or nothing.' Either Atemu joined them in this world, or they all went into the afterlife together. He had simply been unwilling to accept that fact until that moment.
"Almost done with the preflight checklist," Mokuba said.
Seto nodded and strapped himself in. As he brought the engines online, he heard Mokuba ask, "You really care a lot for Atemu, don't you?"
Seto sighed. Mokuba had figured out a lot of what had been going on between him and Atemu— hell, it had been Mokuba who had maneuvered the two of them together in the first place— but Seto had never told him the entire story.
As the BEWD jet climbed into the sky, Seto— with a little help from Seth— told Mokuba everything.