For all those who have been following 'Tales in the Stones' this is rewrite.
For those who are new – welcome – hope you enjoy your stay.
Those distant Stars
Does draying destiny darken dawn's death?
Chapter 1: Daybreak
The room was filled with the dust of chalk floating aimlessly in the air, void of all current. It was a theatre, set up with relaxed chairs for students to rest upon while sleeping to the voice of a droned teacher. However it was a theatre of homely welcoming with its strange warmth brought on by a tiny heater to the back of the room; its orange glow the only light currently illuminating the mischievous shadows.
A large wooden desk sat the right side of a scribble covered black-board. The surface of the desk was scattered with odd artefacts from various places across the globe. Pressed with a cheek upon the desk surface, breathing in a layer of chalk upon the wood through deep breaths of sleep, a young man who couldn't have been older than twenty-two was spooned out. Seemingly having collapsed from exhaustion he rested peacefully, quite at home in the comfortable large chair that supported his small framed body like an enveloping glove.
It was too new to belong to the slightly run-down class-room and appeared to be a recent gift with its price tag still attached to one wheel. A figure began to move through the chairs, the only noticeably visible sign of its presence were two paper cups steaming with warm bitter coffee. As it walked, it gathered the dim shadows, as if they where prey and slowly began to form a physical body that glided smoothly over the wooden floor towards the desk.
Dawns first light flickered under the closed blinds, streaming in to land upon the ghostly man strolling through the chalk and dust mites, dressed in a thin layer of black leather as if the cold never touched him, and tingling with each step as jewellery tinkled together in a happy chime.
His movements where elegantly drawn, like a choreographic dance of some royal lord. Though appearing tall and elegant with sleek, well toned limbs, his stature was short with only the illusion that he was tall coming through his majestic walk.
He approached the desk, gently setting down both cups upon a vacant space between papers. A dark smile lingered on his lips, shown far more in the bright sparkle of red eyes surrounded in black liner.
"Aibou." He whispered in a gentle, vibrating voice. "Aibou...I have coffee."
A moan sounded from the figure lying on the desk and he rolled his head, smudging more white chalk over his face.
"Obvious this is to me, little one, but today is a rather important day." The aristocratic tone of voice was riddled with amusement at the sight of his beloved partner in such a mood. The night had drawn on late, marking what was left of the term papers. It was a relief it was finally all over.
"Really," the young man slurred out, "why's that Yami?"
"Well, is today not the day that we fly back to Japan."
"By Ra!" The young man suddenly sat up as if zapped by a spark of electricity. "What time is it Yami?! Have I missed the flight? Are my things packed...oh my gosh!" The bedazzled young man looked around the dark theatre in surprise, not having expected to awaken in the classroom.
He furrowed his brow, rubbing his chin as he tried to remember the latter night and finally the realisation that he had, indeed, fallen asleep on his desk dawned and he sighed, sinking into his chair with a relaxing squeak of the wheels.
"The time is six in the morning aibou, you have not missed your flight which is at eight, and your things are all packed waiting for the taxi to arrive in fifteen minutes. So I suggest you drink the coffee, wash your face, change your clothes into what I brought, and run like mad."
"Crikey..." He stood in a flounder of swift movement, pelting between the chairs to the door, but skidded to a sudden jerked stop and spun around to rush back and snag the cup of coffee.
"Thanks for the coffee Yami." He tore off again and Yami lent upon the desk, sipping his own with a rising chuckle deep within his chest.
Yugi never ceased to fascinate him, in all the years they'd been bonded since the fateful day that he surrendered during the Ceremonial Duel. Never once did he regret the decision to stay in the world of the living, to remain forever bound with Yugi by the promise of the gods that together they would continue their journey to keep the earth and her people safe.
As a holder of the Millennium Puzzle such was their duty, just as it was the duty of all those who bore the same burden of the accursed Items and those that would join them in their long journey.
The Pharaoh drained his coffee, allowing the bitter-sweet taste to relish in his gut for a moment before he faded away into spirit form, his physical corporal body vanishing into a ghostly wavering figure. It was no use wasting the Shadow Magic of the Millennium Puzzle helping Yugi dash around in last minute panic. He'd learnt some time ago to simply let Yugi be Yugi, and Yugi liked to rush like a two year old on a sugar high.
Yugi splashed his face with cold water, allowing the freezing chill to shock him into life. Rubbing a small towel from his carry bag into his skin he patted it dry before moving to apply his usual thick eyeliner, watching as it dried onto his skin.
He'd learnt beautiful patterns to apply the special black liquid to his eyes while staying in the underground caverns of the Tomb Keepers, as they still kept up the same rituals from so long ago. Usually he liked simple but bold, however today he was feeling adventurous and went for a style that reflected his connection to the Pharaoh, not that anyone who wasn't familiar with Egypt history would understand it.
Almost the week after he'd graduated from school he'd left Japan for Egypt with his grandfathers blessing, gained his doctorate in ancient languages in a matter of six-months and over the next three years until his twentieth birthday he'd studied under Professor Hawkins as an assistant archaeologist. The things he'd uncovered, the stories he had to tell, meant nothing to him compared to what he and Yami and experienced in the sands of Egypt. Those couple of years had given them time to understand the other, to work on the connection their singular soul held as two halves.
Then like all seasons, the time had passed on.
Leaving Egypt had almost felt worse than leaving Japan, for he not only left the beautiful sun-kissed land of his past-lives past but the friendly warmth of the people there and the happiness he'd found when staying deep underground for months on end within the Tomb Keeper society that still, to this day, guarded the sanctity of his Pharaoh's tomb.
Both he and Yami had found a strange kind of peace within Egypt, a peace that had allowed them both to grow closer, silently, and slowly like a tiny plant wishing to bloom. It had happened with nether of them really noticing it. Once they'd been a Pharaoh, Atemu, then they'd been torn apart. The dark half bound to exist only as a spirit, the other to re-live again and again until they where finall united. They'd had to relearn things, a trust in each other, an understanding of working together as a whole and not a seprate enity. It was rather difficult having a soul cut in half, they where not a regular human, no they where a Pharaoh, of shadows.
Egypt now felt like a dream, a treasured moment in time he kept close to his heart, but he was glad they'd moved onward for they couldn't have stayed forever in the peace. He'd gone from one dry land to a land almost just as thirsty, taking up a job in Australia as a professor of archaeology.
Apparently word had got around that Professor Hawkins had, had assistant who rivalled none and Yugi found he was just as famous in the world of ancient history as he had been in the Duellist world.
When he looked in the mirror, he no longer saw the young teenager that had taken on rivals from around the globe, an innocent boy that had unlocked dark secrets into his own past and helped saved the oblivious population of the world from devastation.
Sure, Yugi Mutou the teenager, was still inside him, he'd never not be that happy person who enjoyed games, and loved the life of a travelling Duellist but looking at himself now he saw someone totally different. He was still short, a curse of unfair genetics, but he didn't mind it for what he lacked in height, he made up in strength, wit and his naturally good looks – apparently, according to a large population of female students in the university.
Yami's gentle chuckle resounded throughout the bathroom and his reflection shifted in the mirror as the spirit made himself known.
\That I have to agree with that too, little one.\
\Yes, you'd say that, considering I'm you.\Yugi snorted at the faint flush that touched his high cheekbones from the Pharaoh's tease, pulling on a new white shirt with black words written on the front displaying a jibe one of his students had said during class that he'd found rather amusing at the time 'Short, yes, but I can still bust your leg.'
\Doesn't mean it isn't true. Yes, I may have the image of a Pharaoh, doesn't make you any less of one, aibou.\
Yugi smiled faintly to himself at the reminder. Yami had the dark skin, the unnatural alien eyes, the demonic sneer and commanding tone of the Pharaoh they'd once been, while he, as the lighter half, had that all together softer, gentler appearence. Not that such an image made him any less a figher than the dark lord captured around his neck within the golden Puzzle.
His students had always found it a continued source of wonderful entertainment that their little, cute and utterly adorable Professor was not a wimp; at least, not anymore. Only a few of the students knew of his past experiences of bulling and those where students who came to him for emotional support, or rather, came to Yami most of the time for the Pharaoh had an uncanny ability of sorting out people's problems with a gentle word or so in the right direction.
Yugi had figured it to be part of Yami's Pharaoh upbringing and was inwardly glad the ancient king still enjoyed taking on the role of a guardian to people despite no longer ruling a country but otherwise ruling the powers of a dark realm and untapped powers they still both had yet to explore to the full extent.
The dead and gone spirits of the Millennium Puzzle stopped them from trying, and though they'd tried those spirits bonded to the blood gold the item was made from, refused to budge on and move into the after-life.
They hated Yami with every inch of their pitiful existence and Yugi knew that hatred stemmed to him. It had become rather obvious after being knocked down by flying arrows a couple times while entering Yami's soul-room. Still, despite all that, he knew one day Yami would find a way to help the spirits move on, after all, Bakura and Ryou had done it, and Yami never liked being behind Bakura for very long.
Bundling up his shimmering hair that had retained its tri-colour over the years Yugi plated it into a braid, allowing it to trail loosely down his back to suite the warm Australian weather. His skin was almost as tanned as Yami's dark tones since he had the habit of walking along the pristine beaches of Adelaide, but the Pharaoh maintained his very exotic Egyptian look with his dark slanted eyes and well structured limbs ready for an ounce of action at any moments call.
It had been years ago when he'd finally come to conclusion during a long, lonely walk in the stands of Egypt, that no matter how much he changed Yami would always be the dominate one of their strange split-soul relationship.
A Pharaoh never stopped being a Pharaoh, even after death and though neither of them understood yet the roles in which the god's had entrusted them to, Yugi knew inwardly, Yami would forever be a Pharaoh.
He was the other side, the one who kept the ancient king centred and controlled. The one born from the horrible dark magic that had tore apart their soul. He was the child.
Yugi paused from putting on his jewellery and sighed as he replaced them all into a small box within his carry bag, realising that he'd have to strip half his body to go through the metal detector to board the plane. It was hard enough taking the Millennium Puzzle off for those brief moments that it travelled through the special x-ray machine.
"Still paranoid, after all these years." Yugi mumbled, hoisting up his carry bag that contained everything he needed for the long flight home. Yami's spirit form floated beside him as he strolled out of the bathroom towards the front doors where his luggage rested in silent waiting. For one last time he breathed in deeply the smell of the university, letting his memories linger with the faces of the students he'd grown to love and the laughter he'd heard in his lecture hall.
"Thanks Yami." Yugi whispered softly and the Pharaoh titled his head slightly to one side.
"What for little one?" His echoing spirit voice filled the front foyer.
"For staying with me, I'd have never gotten to places like this without you."
"Rubbish," Yami snorted, "Yugi with the determination you have packed into your small body, you could reach the moon if you wanted to, but, I will take my due, and your welcome. Really aibou, I would have it no other way. For as long as eternity is, we shall guard this world form the shadows, wherever they may be. That, and...I reeaally didn't have a choice...did you expect me to up and go and leave half of my soul behind?"
Yugi chuckled. "For a moment, yeah...I was a little worried."
"Oh, ye of little faith!"
It sat as it always had, on the corner of the street but now with it bathed in an alien glow of orange from the gentle trickle of colour lulling out from the dying sun; it was as if he'd never seen anything more beautiful. None of the wonders of Egypt compared to the glorious sight of home after distant travels. The Kame Game Shop, where he had grown up and learnt the love of all things game. A sudden swell of emotions caught him in the throat as if his heart soared and Yugi flew into a run, dragging his bag after him. Busting into the front door, hearing the familiar chime of the bells, he threw aside his luggage and rushed down the passage. Surprised voices echoed down towards him as he raced into the living room and kitchen.
"Grandpa!" Yugi squealed, launching himself into the old man's embrace and hiding his tears in the white shirt that smelt new unpacked games from the storage room under the stairs.
"Yugi my boy! My goodness! My goodness! You are finally home!"
Someone else was in the living room, but for that single moment of captured joy, covered in the scent and warm arms of his grandfather, he couldn't care. Pulling away slightly Yugi smiled into the wrinkled face, loving the feel of the well worn hands cupping his fresh, young cheeks. A kiss was planted upon his forehead and he giggled, causing Solomon to laugh at the wonderful sound that the house and the old man had missed.
"Yes, Grandpa, we are home!"
"Take a seat my boy; you must be exhausted from your flight."
"Oh yes, long flight...!" Wiggling around Yugi plonked himself onto a couch, noticing as he sunk into it that it was still the same old couch he'd use to fall flat on after a long day at school. His grandfather had obviously not used the money he sent over every now and then for new furniture.
"Ah," as if suddenly noticing the other occupant of the living room Solomon slapped his forehead in mock stupidity, "sorry Daniel, I forgot to tell you that my grandson was returning from Australia today. I think I told you he was teaching archaeology and ancient languages there. Yugi, this is Doctor Daniel Jackson, an old student of an old friend of mine. He's been working with Ishizu and boarding with me for a month now."
"Hello," Yugi reached out a hand that the American took warmly and pumped with a grip surprisingly strong for someone who had the appearance of being stuck behind books and scrolls for hours on end. For a moment Yugi was slightly taken aback, for the young man looked as though he'd been stripped straight out of a comic book in the stereotypical role of an archaeologist, with his squared glasses perked on the edge of his nose, and long ash brown hair cupped around thin cheeks. His blue eyes shined with that sprinkle of knowledge most studiers of ancient history held.
\He has secrets this one does Yugi.\
\How very fascinating, so I'm not the only one in my field with a secret heh.\
\Somehow, sweet one, I am not surprised. And...I think you'd better say something before he thinks your mute.\
"Ah, sorry, it's a pleasure to meet you Doctor Jackson."
"Please, just call me Daniel. Your Grandfathers told me so much about you, he's extraordinarily proud, as he should be, for one so young to make such a name for himself!"
"If I recall, you were quite young when you also made quite a name for yourself too." Yugi raised both eyebrows with a small smirk, a smirk he'd learnt from Yami. The look he got from the American's face was almost priceless; stuck somewhere between a blush and a horrified gaggle of being hung.
"Ah, yes. I did, but for quite the wrong reasons. I hope you, er...don't have any radical ideas and ruin your career."
Yugi giggled, noticing his Grandfathers eyes upon him and sensing their laughter as the old man inwardly held his mirth at the thought.
"Oh, if only you knew sir, if only you knew."
Eventually he'd had to retire, drag his half useless body up the stairs bearing the weight of his luggage and stagger into his old bedroom that had not changed an ounce since he'd left. Dumping everything onto the floor he wandered towards the bathroom to one side of his room, stripping the shirt from his shoulders as he went.
He sensed Yami's pop into existence and heard the Pharaoh begin to unpack. The cool bathroom tiles tickled his feet and Yugi stopped for a moment by the mirror, closing his eyes to take in the smell of soap lingering in the air.
It was just like his grandfather to keep his room and the connected bathroom clean as a whistle for when he returned. From their rather short conversation it was easy to tell the old man had missed him, and in a slightly disturbing way feeling missed was personally pleasing.
Washing makeup from his face with cool water Yugi started the nightly ritual of brushing his teeth, letting lose his hair and allowing it play free over his shoulders. Sighing in relaxation Yugi staggered out into the bedroom once more, noticing Yami standing by the open window gazing out into the night and watching the lights of the sky-scrapers dance.
Slipping under his shoulder Yugi smiled as an arm was wrapped gently around his waist and the ancient spirit tipped his head, blowing back a long strand of his blond fringe. In the moment, they needed no words to express the warmth gained from standing in the special room, a room that together they had spent hours within.
A room where he'd first completed the Puzzle, and the first place in the modern world that Yami had ever seen. The view out the window might not have been an awe-inspiring sight and wondrous as the Pyramids but it was their view, and their view alone.
Pressing his cheek to Yami's for a moment Yugi breathed in deeply the dead spirits scent of herbs and mummification spices.
Physical touch was one thing Yami's illusionary body had no control over. Shadow Magic made the fake skin over sensitive. All five senses for the spirit had to be carefully used and Yugi closed his eyes, knowing that it was only for him and him alone that Yami endured the world outside of the Puzzle; a world that gave him such ill sensations.
Yami had forced the creation of his body for him, so that he would not be alone in his cursed existence.
Pulling away Yugi wandered towards the bed and ran his fingers over the quilt before clambering in, giving a giggle at how wonderful it felt to be back within the instantly familiar covers.
"You know Yami," Yugi settle himself into the bed with a heavy sigh, closing his eyes as he lent back into the pillow and felt the indentation of his head still in the filling that his grandfather had never managed to get out. "There is something wonderful about coming home is there not?"
"Yes aibou, there is." Yami's baritone voice breathed out and Yugi dared to open a single eye, feeling the bed jolt as Yami's physical form sat upon the edge, making it squeak slightly. The Pharaoh smirked, wiggling on the bed to cause it to sing. Yugi tipped his head back with a small laugh.
"Golly, I'm so busted if I try anything on this old thing! Think if I jumped on it enough it'd break?"
Yami smirked playfully and Yugi widened his eyes, knowing the daring look in the spirits red glinted eyes, shaded by pure black, "I do like a challenge aibou."
Backing up and tucking the blankets firmly around him Yugi shook his head, "Oh no you don't Pharaoh! No, get your hands off, ah! Yami! Stop tickling me you old, dead and rotting corpse! I don't want to be tickled!"
Daniel glanced up from the page of text he was reviewing as the sound of laughter echoed down the hall. He gave a small smile as he peered over the top of his glasses, finding the high-pitched laughter somewhat amusing as it obviously came from the cheerful young man he'd finally met.
The young man with the strangest, most beautiful purple eyes he'd ever seen, that coupled with his bazaar colouring of hair that was apparently natural.
A loud shout caught him slightly off guard as Solomon Mutou's voice boomed out from down the passage.
"Yugi! Will you sleep!"
Another round of laughter followed before a squealed shout returned the older Mutou.
"It's not my fault Grandpa! Yami is trying to murder me!"
"Why, Yugi, is it never your fault!?"
There was a pause, and a small burst of laughter. "Because I'm cute, innocent and stuff!"
"Sleep boy! You and that spirit of yours! Or I'll come and spank your hides!"
"Yami says he'd like to see you try!"
"Another word out of you and he'll get the chance!"
Apparently that threat worked and silence reigned within the game-shop. Daniel raised both eyebrows at the oddity of the shouted conversation between the bedrooms. He chuckled, shaking his head and settling back to his reading. It seemed, no matter where in the world, or galaxy, that he was, they'd always be something odd going on.
"I should never have written that paper on aliens...now I see them everywhere." He mused.
Solomon prided himself in the upkeep of his shop, and anyone who lived under his roof. He also prided himself in his fitness, his health and his continued emotional well-being. He rose early most mornings, did a walk around the block, a few stomach crunches and a little bit of weight training.
He did, after all, have to keep himself in prime position to keep the shop going. Having returned to the kitchen at six-thirty he started on breakfast for young Doctor Daniel, and packed him a healthy lunch since he knew that like he'd once been at the same age, the absent minded archaeologist would go starving if he wasn't given food.
At seven sharp Daniel descended the stairs and entered the kitchen, sat and ate the hearty meal provided. They exchanged a few words before Daniel stood, gathered his gear and the offered lunch before he disappeared in a rush usually equated with such young men. With a small smile Solomon took up the morning delivered paper and sat at the kitchen bench to read, awaiting the arise of his grandson who would soon smell the freshly cooked bread and awaken to the world once more.
Sure enough, half an hour later the obvious sound of arousal began and Solomon tipped his head up as the loud thumping down the stairs he'd once been familiar with alerted him to Yugi's presence.
Wearing a ruffled white shirt that slung tightly to his thin frame, with his hair bundled in a messy braid down his back, and eyes sluggishly red from jet-lag Yugi staggered through the doorway.
A smile broke across his face as he waved and brilliant good morning. "Morning Grandpa."
"Good morning Yugi. I hope you slept well."
"Yes..." Yugi yawned.
"Did you eventually get to sleep after our yelling match that possibly woke the whole neighbourhood." Solomon found himself smirking as Yugi sheepishly rubbed his bare feet against the floor.
"Sorry, I got attacked by an insane dead person who should be a rotting mummied corpse!" He quickly seated himself, pulling over a plate of toast.
"Good morning to you too aibou." Yami appeared in a soft flash of the Millennium Puzzle, looking almost as bedraggled as Yugi, if it was possible for a Pharaoh to look bedraggled. Solomon raised an eyebrow at the lord before reaching out and swamping him in an overwhelming massive hug. Yami returned it in vigour, though Solomon sensed the small, tiny flinch at the physical touch.
The old man had no doubt, that the only person the Pharaoh would ever feel fully relax around would be his lighter half.
He'd come to the understanding that he still had one grandson sometime ago, only unlike all other Grandfathers; his grandchild had a split soul. "I apologise that I couldn't greet you last night my boy." Solomon chuckled, taking note of the ancient kings deep, musty smell.
"That is quite alright Grandfather." Yami pulled away, smiling a genuine smile reserved only for special moments and special people. Solomon beamed, honoured to be included in the smile. "You had a visitor, and as interesting as he was, I like my whole physical body thing to just be between us at the moment."
"Us, Malik, Seto and Ryou..." Yugi perked up.
"Ah, yes, the Tomb Robber...I believe he shall be at the...reunion?" Yami seated himself at the bench, stealing a slice of toast from his partner's plate. Though he didn't need food, it was nice to pretend he needed it.
"Hmm." Yugi mumbled through his mouth full.
"I'll take that as a yes then." Chuckling Yami slid an arm around Yugi's waist, leaning back in his chair and resting backwards in a relaxed style of utter contentment.
Solomon could hardly contain his laughter at the sight of them both sitting upon the high-chairs at the bench in the kitchen. It appeared that in the years they'd spent away, Yami had grown completely accustomed to the modern age he had been thrust rather dramatically into.
As he brewed the coffee Solomon studied them both, trying to take in as much time as possible to relish in the sight of his beautiful young grandson, so childishly free of restraints that came with old age.
It was harder to recognise the child he'd raised within the older version that had returned to him, with stronger limbs, harsher lines within his face and far longer hair however it was his large, completely sweet and beautifully innocent eyes that oozed with the child he'd once been, that coupled with his laughter told the old man his grandson had truly returned to him.
Sliding the coffee mugs across the bench top Solomon noticed Yami's hand reach for his, the long fingers with visible calluses and signs of wear upon them from holding weapons of war in years long ago past. Trying to picture the last time he had seen the ancient Pharaoh, Solomon pursed his lips, unsure if he could recall the image well to mind.
After both Yugi and Yami had returned from the ceremonial duel things had changed. Something had happened to his grandchild during the duel, for indeed everyone had thought the pharaoh would leave but apparently, that had never been the task.
The duel had been a test between a singular soul, to be reunited, to be judged to protect the earth.
Across from him, sat the person charged with Earths care and the care of all who lived upon the planet. Yugi held that weight, the weight of a dark lord that completed him.
It had almost taken both boys two years to recover from the episode of the Memory World that had allowed Yami access to their forgotten past and the duel that had changed their lives.
While Yugi had drowned himself in finishing school, his partner had drowned himself in his memories, spending many hours talking with a certain thief. By the time Yugi had left for Egypt Solomon had come to realise he knew very little about the other half of his grandson, despite having lived under the same roof, and having let the spirit share the body of the purest of all lights in the world.
This time, he would not be so silly, this time, he would welcome the spirit into the family with the same love he held for Yugi, for they were one and the same.
Looking at them now, they where no longer akin to twins, but separate people with separate identities even though, he could sense a strange sameness in the air as if they where, truthfully the same human being split directly down the centre.
Although their hair still matched in its strange array of colours, Yami's was twice as long as Yugi's and unlike Yugi's remained free of restraint from a braid, allowed to be free to float over slightly stronger, broader shoulders. It almost floated in a strange weightlessness, drifting around as though it lingered in water. The ancient lord wore darker clothing, contrasting Yugi who seemed to have moved to lighter shades of sweet sky blues and soft gentle yellows.
They may have shared one body most of the time, but through the blessing of the gods upon the accursed Millennium Item Yugi had around his neck, they'd been given a chance to become individuals in their own rights, while still retaining the conjoint oneness of their single soul.
"Grandpa, your kinda dazing...your coffee is getting cold. You're looking like me when I chat to Yami. My students called it 'the Mutou gaze'; shouted it out every time I did it in lecture." Yugi waved a hand around in a flounder.
Solomon snapped to attention, raising his grey, brushy eyebrows, thinning out the wrinkles around his eyes.
"Sorry Yugi, I was far away in thought....so, what are you boys planning for today?"
"Well Grandpa." Yugi reached over the counter, placing his slim hand upon his Grandfathers and holding it in a firm grasp. "Yami and I thought we'd spent the morning in the shop with you, and then if you want, how about we go out for lunch? Just the three of us."
"Are you sure Yami will be alright...being out?"
"Yeah, we can get something and head down to the park by the river; I doubt anyone would be around there."
"What a wonderful idea Yugi."
Yugi jutted a hand in the direction of Yami. "His idea last night, wants to spend quality time with you, just us, no one else Grandpa...I...we...missed you."
Solomon bent his head slightly, sure that tears where welling up under his eyes. His grandson had a life of his own now, beyond the walls of the Game Shop, but today he was going to be selfish as humanly possible. Everyone deserved to be selfish once in awhile.
Yugi threw his arms above his head and tore down the grassy hillside with a squeal until he tripped and rolled, landing in a heap with a mouth full of grass and an eruption of laughter to follow it.
On the crest of the hill Yami stood, bearing a picnic basket and a blanket over his shoulder. Had he not been carrying the goods, he'd have joined his partner in the childish mad dash of doom down the hillside to the small cove of trees shading a green area from the glare of the noon-day sun.
"Here Grandpa." Shifting the basket to his left hand Yami took Solomon's arm, helping the old man down the slightly slippery embankment towards Yugi as he lay in an angel format upon the grass, staring lazily up at the sky.
Yami placed down the basket and spread the blanket, allowing Solomon to sit with his back against a tree. Picking up a discarded stick Yami poked his partner with it, who twisted with a giggle and stuck out his tongue.
"Yugi, didn't I teach you not to do that." Solomon waggled a finger in play.
"Hmm, yes..." Yugi sheepishly smirked as he curled around, scrapping across the grass to collapse upon the blanket and begin to unload the picnic basket. Yami settled himself down, accepting the offered packed lunch as he rested back upon a tree with a smirk, letting Yugi use his legs and chest as a seat.
Taking a sip from his cold drink Yugi studied his grandfather, humming as he did so while eating. It was hard not to love the old man with his kindly face. It was no surprise he'd taken in boarding someone, someone interested in archaeology as well.
"So, this Doctor Daniel Jackson, do you know what he's doing with Ishizu at the Museum?" Yugi picked at his food.
"Not much to tell I'm afraid. I know it's all very hush, hush..."
"See, told you he was keeping a secret." Yami peered over the top of his sunglasses from his resting place. Yugi jutted out his bottom lip in thought.
"Yes, you did." He flicked his eyes back to Solomon.
"I noticed some of his stuff on the coffee table; he works for the U.S Air-Force. What could they possibly have to do with archaeological stuff?"
"Your guess would be as good as mine son."
"I donno Grandpa, my guess is pretty wild."
"Really, what is your guess?" Sipping on his warm brew Solomon sighed in sweet serenity, broken by his grandson's next word.
Spraying his sip of tea over the lawn Solomon stared in dumb-founded surprise.
"Well, what?" Yugi shrugged, placing a hand upon Yami's leather clad leg, "Doctor Daniel Jackson did write an essay and gave a lecture about aliens using the Pyramids as landing pads for giant space-ships and from what Yami has to say, he's quite right."
"You can't be serious Yugi?"
"Good grief, first the dead possessing my grandson, now aliens...I have to wonder if someone up there is making fun of my life." Solomon rubbed his chin. Yami titled his head to one side, slipping his sunglasses up onto his head to reveal his perfectly red eyes, wide with merriment at the poor old man's silent plea.
"Well, you obviously accepted him as a boarder."
"Yes, I did. I must attract bizarreness."
"Grandpa, it's only a random guess." Yugi laughed, scrambling over and leaning into the aging mans arms, sinking into his shoulder.
Solomon chuckled deeply, allowing Yugi to hear the laughter rise up from his chest. He stroked the shimmering, silken long hair of the young man, enjoying its beautiful feel between his fingers. How the lad had made his once spiky hair tame was beyond him, but it matched him. It was still a bundle of playful fizz but far more reserved and elegant, giving him that all over older look.
"A guess, yes, son, and a random one at that. Let us hope that is all it is."
Yami sipped his drink at the silence that remained for a brief pause before Yugi launched into a story about one of their particular adventures with Malik in the old tombs underground in Egypt.
The Pharaoh peered through his tinted glasses out onto the river, he moved slightly as Yugi bounced around on his lap, and he smiled despite the odd, uneasy feeling growing in the pit of his stomach.
Yet, right then and there, he forced it down, putting on a happy face for the sake of his beloved aibou and their grandfather. It was no use dwelling on a future that would come anyway.
"So," Solomon repacked the containers they'd finished washing from lunch back into the kitchen cabinet, "when is this reunion?" He motioned to the clock on the wall and Yugi glanced around to peer at it.
"Um...about six, I think it's for dinner or something. I couldn't hear Tea very well when she rang, over the noise of the twins, screaming in the background. Still, Yami and I are going to the Museum grandpa, Yami wants to look around and I feel like walking the town the a bit, you know, remember things." Smiling Yugi threaded a hand through his hair.
Solomon nodded, giving him a small shove.
"Off you go then boy, you and the Pharaoh take a nice long walk, and enjoy tonight." He motioned to the door and Yugi grinned, lunging and lapping the old man into a hug.
"Thanks Grandpa! We'll see you later on tonight, if we get home before you're in bed." Snatching up his brown, canvas bag slung over a chair Yugi threw it over his shoulder and dashed down the stairs.
Solomon stood, chuckling, shaking his head as his mind wandered back to the days when Yugi had been a teenager and ran just as fast to get to the arcade and out of the house.
His grandson would never tire, and would never grow old, but in so many ways, he was the unlucky one. Aging was what it meant to be human, without it, one could not be called human any longer. His grandson was not human, if he ever had been, from the day he was born he had never intended to be human. Always a child he had been, missing a part of himself and when he had found that missing part, he had found his true calling.
Sighing Solomon turned, contemplating reopening the shop for the afternoon. He had nothing else to do to...
The museum in Domino city was a wonderful place to work. People actually smiled when he came in for the day. He was fluent in Japanese and he was sure that helped. Why a city named after a game, had such a brilliant museum was beyond him, but he enjoyed the environment and even wished that at some point before his life had been turned upside-down that he'd visited.
Maybe if his life would have ended up differently if he'd taken a job in a museum that actually prided themselves in thinking outside the square in all things history. He supposed, those, the museum reflected the woman who lorded over it.
Ishizu Ishtar was a startling woman, who dressed in the ancient fashions of her people without a care as to who was staring. Apparently she had a younger brother, but he'd never seen this allusive young man who was whispered about as though he was some kind of fantasy. That aside, she was one woman who knew her place in the world and she aimed to get it.
Daniel sighed, shaking his head as he heard her voice call over to him once again from the doorway into his makeshift office.
"I'm amazed, Doctor Jackson, that you have not grown old and weary. You were only suppose to remain here for a month and yet it has been a couple now and you are still no closer to your goal."
"I know...I know." Cleaning his glasses with the hem of his shirt Daniel looked around to her, finding himself confronted with a sudden flash of his wife that caused him to wince.
His wife was dead to him now, but still she constantly came to mind even after so long. Ishizu glided over the marble floor, sweeping in like a wave as she held out his lunch box.
"Solomon Motou just called me to remind you to eat lunch, which it seems you forgot...again...and as it is now, five in the afternoon, this is rather belated. You will kill yourself, Doctor Jackson, if you continue to ignore your body."
"Oh." Flushing faintly Daniel mentally slapped himself. "Um...thanks. Yeah, I just...got lost in translation again."
Ishizu smiled a knowing smirk, rolling her eyes. "I understand..." Her voice trailed off and Daniel raised his eyebrows, turning slightly at the sound of steal capped boots tapping along the marble of the corridor outside, the foot-steps growing closer.
Beside him he sensed Ishizu stand to sudden attention, her body becoming ridged like a twig and her face darkened into an integral, strange expression of revered honour to whomever was approaching down the passage; as if she knew from the sound of the foot-steps alone who the visitor to their small secluded area of the museum.
Not many people knew he was working with her, he'd requested it to be that way and she had simply complied with no comment or question asked. He was beginning to wonder if she'd worked with governmental agencies before on secret projects. Finally the foot-steps stopped at the threshold of the door, and Daniel stared in disbelief.
"Yugi." He blurted out, wincing as Ishizu gave a small, curt bow from the hips.
Somehow, Daniel felt the urge to follow her example but fought off the sensation. Someone who oozed such commanding power of royalty needed to be bowed to, but he found the strength to fight it off.
"Good evening Doctor Jackson, Ishizu." Yugi slipped off the sunglasses he wore and Daniel forced the gasp in his throat back down into his gut.
Was it possible that the person standing in the doorway was the same sweet young man he was boarding with? He'd been quite sure that Yugi's eyes where an odd tinge of purple but the glare that looked at him now was tinted red in an unhuman like manner.
"Lord Pharaoh." Ishizu inclined her head and Daniel blinked in confusion at her formal tone. "Thank you for coming."
"Not a problem Ishizu. We were on our way to Kaiba's mansion for the reunion anyway when we got your text. What can we do for you?"
Ishizu gave a smile, placing down the lunch-box she held before waving to Daniel.
"You must have already met Doctor Jackson."
"Yes, we have, just briefly though."
Still standing and feeling like a drooling idiot Daniel felt his head ticking over, wondering why the young man continued to refer to himself as a plural.
"His research is going nowhere and I am beginning to lose patience in keeping him here in my museum with all the bickering phone-calls I get from the government about having an American man here. I thought, you, Lord Pharaoh, would be able to assist him in his findings. It is in your area I believe."
"We'll be happy to help out if we can." The young man entered, pulling off his sunglasses and tucking them into a pocket of his shirt, instead of the sunglasses, he now reached for a pair of spetcles tucked around his belt.
He propped them onto his nose, "Can we see what you're working on?" He offered and Daniel nodded dumbly, pointing to his desk, still mesmerised by the sheer weight of royalty his fellow archaeologist carried.
Yugi glassed over the photographs lining the desk, his brow knitting deeply as he reached out, attentively touching the images with his thin fingers as if feeling the skin of a babe. Daniel took note of the colour change in his eyes, and glanced to the window in the office, wondering if it was a simple foolery of the sunlight.
"Where...where did you get these?" He whispered softly, glancing towards Daniel.
"Ah, actually, I...can't tell you."
"Oh. I see." Yugi gave a small smile, surprising Daniel at its sweet sincerity of deep understanding and that he had finally addressed himself normally. Within his soft purple eyes hidden knowledge of a secret holder glittered, the same noticeable gleam Daniel had often seen reflecting with Jack or Sam's eyes when they were forced to tell a lie to cover up the Stargate Program. A face could be void of all tell-tale emotions but the eyes, the true windows to the soul, could never hide the secrets within.
"You speak and write Ancient Egyptian right?" Yugi turned, leaning his backside upon the table and crossing his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow in curiosity. Daniel nodded.
"Yes. I do."
"And yet you cannot translate this..." Yugi tapped the photograph. "However, you know its Egyptian don't you, because you can recognise something familiar about it."
"Indeed." Playing along Daniel agreed, smiling as the young man beside him seemed to engage a game with colourful words.
"Well," Yugi blew back his golden fringe from his eyes, "I'm not surprised you can't read it. Not very many people can, actually, I only know two other people other than myself who can. And one can't do it very well; the other isn't fluent but knows enough to get by."
"Can you translate it?"
"Sure, given some time to work on it. It's a secret language used only for the Pharaohs. The reason why its' not well known is because the scribes who finished writing something in it or carving out something with it, where usually killed soon after they completed their work so as not to blurt out the secrets of the Pharaoh's to the general population."
"Wonderful observation there Doctor." Yugi giggled, playfully tipping his hip to one side. "I'm willing to give you a hand with all this if you like, since I really haven't got a job at the moment, however I can't right now...cause..." He glanced at the silver watch on his wrist. "We've got a reunion of friends and enemies to get too, but we'll call in tomorrow or, bring some of this stuff home and we can work on it there in private. Home is always a good place to be...ah, bye Ishizu!" Yugi took her hands, kissing her cheeks with gentle pecks. She blushed slightly and tipped her head.
"You honour me Pharaoh."
"No, Ishizu," Daniel squinted, as a slightly deeper voice escaped the young archaeologist's mouth again, "it is you who honours us with your continued support and annoying blurts of future and history and what-not."
"I see his majesty is getting well equated with present times."
"Indeed, blast the modern day invention of the car, ruined all my chances of having a horse-drawn golden chariot."
Ishizu gave a small laugh, an unusual sound coming from the usually reserved mysterious woman.
"My lord is welcome to use the chariot we have in storage any time he wishes."
"Right, we'll remember that."
"Sarcasm does not befit you."
Yugi waved out the door, pulling a face.
"It doesn't, does it! He's still learning! Seeya tomorrow Daniel."
And he was gone just as quickly as he'd come, and it seemed that with his departure the room almost visibly grew smaller and the stale smell of aged artefacts returned. As if noticing his oddly dazing face, Ishizu placed a hand upon his arm and Daniel flinched, jerking around to look at her down the ridge of his nose.
"Daniel? Are you well?"
"Yes, fine...um...Ishizu? Why do you call him Pharaoh?"
She shrugged, "that question, Doctor Daniel Jackson, is one you shall have to answer on your own. I am not at liberty to tell such a tale. If you ever get the courage, ask Yugi himself, he may feel in the mood to tell you the story of the Nameless One."
His shoes clapped along the pavement towards the Kaiba Mansion in the distance through the trees and luscious front garden. Unbinding his hair from its braid he let it free to waver in the wind as he slowed to a walk up the stairs to the giant front doors of the white house that gleamed in the bright sunlight.
Straighten his light shirt Yugi peered down at himself, wondering how his old friends would react to his appearance. Sure, he hadn't grown much, but he wasn't what he use to be, and he didn't wear his school uniform anymore, for one thing.
\Thank goodness,\ Yami's bitter voice rumbled through his mind, \I was beginning to think you had a thing for it.\
\Oh shut up, and don't, for Ra's sake, start a duel with Kaiba, this is a friendly hello and how are you, wow, those are your kids, oh my gosh I've done nothing with my life, get together. So please Behave.\
\Tell that to Kaiba...\ Yami grumbled.
Yugi sighed, rolling his eyes under his sunglasses at the bored tone the Pharaoh was muttering everything in. Stepping forward he rang the doorbell, listening to it chime. It barely had a moment to think about the odd inscriptions he'd looked at while at the museum before the doors swung open to reveal a tall looking teenager with rowdy, dazzling hair.
"Oh my gosh, Mokuba!" Yugi squeaked in awe.
Staggering backwards at the influx of weight as he was near picked off the ground by the teens massive hug Yugi laughed his surprise.
"My, you've grown."
"Well, we can't all stay short Yugi."
"Oh, golly, I just know everyone's going to be remarking on it all afternoon." Yugi giggled, stepping back to look into the teens warm eyes, so different from his elder brothers, yet he held the same look of intelligence and sharpness that Seto prided.
"Come on, everyone else is out the back." Mokuba waved him through the front corridor of the mansion.
"I'm late am I?" Yugi wandered in, un-fazed at the awing beauty of the rich house that he'd been within a dozen or so times during his acquaintance with Seto Kaiba. Their rivalry still existed, however it had toned down a small notch from their hormonal teenage years. Who's idea was it to give a hormonal teenager like Seto Kaiba a multi-billion dollar company? It was a sheer miracle the world still stood today.
"Yeah, well...no...not really, everyone else just came early, and hey, like Joey and Tea have been staying here. Tristan showed up early this morning. Ryou ended up meeting us in town for lunch. Malik wandered over at some point, actually, I think just kinda popped up out of nowhere." Mokuba lead him through the corridors lined with paintings, sparkling in its cleanliness.
"That'd be Malik for you." Giggling at the thought of the Tomb Keeper who ruled the underground society Yugi smirked behind Mokuba's back.
Seto still disbelieved that there was anything magical about the Millennium Items, and yet Malik quite happily showed everyone his ability to teleport through the shadows. Planes, who needed planes these days when you had shadow magic.
\You never let me use it.\ Yami muttered.
\That's because it's for emergencies, you know, we still have the spirits of the Puzzle to worry about, not like Malik or Ryou who can use their items willy-nilly.\ Yugi murmured back, knowing it was a sore point for the Pharaoh to have his abilities restrained when one of his Priests and the General of his armies could quite happily use their powers without worry.
\Don't worry, Yami,\ Yugi cooed softly, \we'll work it out together. You know that.\
\I know aibou, I know...\ Came the saddened reply from somewhere deep within the Puzzle dangling freely around his neck. Yugi bit his lips, refusing to let Yami's mood sour the moment he'd been waiting for. Finally, after so long apart, their odd group of the supernatural, the rich, the famous and not so famous, were meeting together in a single place. As Mokuba waved him through the back door Yugi breathed in deeply, this was it, he was going to have to face the fire.
Well, I just updated this chapter, added a few more things, changed it a-bit.
I'd rewrite the whole thing, but that'd be a bit silly.