Bakura – or a fragment thereof – was wandering aimlessly within the vast and confusing puzzle that was the Pharaoh's mind. Until the majority of his soul rejoined him, he was a pointless back-up plan, and accordingly rather bored.
The sound of humming made him freeze and duck into a corner, afraid of being spotted by a pottering Pharaoh. But no, the voice was female – what cause did a woman have to be in the Puzzle?
Puzzled himself, the Bakura-fragment carefully crept towards the noise, sticking to the shadows with skills learnt in his previous life as a tomb robber. After some crafty climbing and detour-taking, he happened upon a door with a single hieroglyphic symbol on it – the pictogram that represented the word 'precious' or 'treasure'.
Now, Bakura was a thief at heart, no matter how he pretended to be a school boy, antagonist or antichrist, and such a sign was enough to have him scanning the door for booby traps before he'd even fully registered the sign's meaning. There was nothing obvious, and when he pressed his ear to the stone and listened, the vague half-humming he had heard was louder, as if it originated from the room beyond the passageway.
Curiosity now firmly piqued, Bakura carefully worked the door open, checking for dangers in all forms. It was easy – he used to do this for a living, after all, and there weren't any traps besides a small tripwire that would rain daggers on any who triggered it. It was laughably simple to step over that, and then he was in the room.
He blinked with surprise.
There was treasure, sure, but not the glittering pile that the thief had been hoping for. Instead, it was trinkets, women's jewellery glimmering on the stylized rack designed to hold it, a comb with inlaid gold resting on the dresser, which itself had a sheet of polished silver as to serve as a mirror. There was a bed, chests dotted around, dozens of female statues standing guard, a disassembled boat in the corner, an empty cradle with golden gilding…
It looked like… Bakura began to get an inkling of doubt, a whisper of a thought in his mind. It looked very like a burial chamber, a rich woman's burial chamber. The hieroglyphics lining the walls to re-enact events in this unfortunate's life certainly supported that theory, but why would this chamber be here, in the Pharaoh's puzzle? Unless… unless this was her, unless the Pharaoh had managed to catch her soul and pull her close to him – if he had, he probably hadn't realised it, it had probably been accidental, because why would he do that to her? It made no sense…
Later, if he had been questioned, he would swear to the fact that he absolutely wasn't holding his breath as he approached the bed, ready to pull back the curtains veiling it and gaze upon the deathmask of the person this room was set aside for. His fingers had just barely brushed the thin fabric when –
"What are you doing?"
Bakura jerked around, biting into his tongue to stifle a yelp of surprise, and found himself face-to-face with a person he had bid goodbye to five thousand years ago.
She was a little shorter than him, her hair long and hanging forlornly down her back. She was beautiful, of course, and very clearly Egyptian in race – ancient Egyptian, the people he had grown up with. She was dressed in a white cotton dress that would normally float gracefully to the floor but was presently plastered to her figure, and was soaking wet from head to toe.
"No, let me rephrase that," she said, shaking her head. The gold circle she wore on her brow slipped with the motion, its grip made precarious by water, and she pushed it back into place almost unconsciously. "What are you doing here?"
Bakura closed his mouth and swallowed, resisting the urge to rub his eyes to be sure he wasn't seeing things. "I could ask you the same thing, Queen Aziza," he said eventually.
Aziza pursed her lips and frowned at him. "Look, I'm dead, and I'm still not going to sleep with you, okay? Stop stalking me."
Bakura shook his head, brushing the curtain back so he could sit on her bed casually, tilting his head cockily out of sheer habit. "Oh, I know that," he said lightly. "I never really wanted you that especially, by the way, I just wanted you dead." Aziza frowned a little, as if she didn't quite understand. Bakura didn't blame her, not really. Around three months before he had robbed the Pharaoh's father's tomb, he had attacked this woman. At the time, the Pharaoh's father was dead but just barely, and had not yet been buried. Bakura had happened upon the girl, the crown prince's wife, bathing in the Nile with scarcely a guard to watch her, and hadn't been able to resist.
He had chosen a swift and brutal method of execution, first propositioning her just to see if she would accept before shoving her under the water and holding her there until she stopped struggling. Her body he had left floating down the river, where it had caused an uproar when a fisherman found it an hour or so later.
Cold-blooded, yes, but he was out for revenge, and the primal violence had at least cooled his anger to the point that he could properly plan out his Crush the Pharaoh By Tearing Everything From Him Piece By Piece and then Killing Him Brutally goal. He hadn't given the young just-crowned queen another thought since.
"What are you doing here?" he asked again. She shrugged.
"Eh, probably something to do with the Millennium Items, or some ancient magic, or my relationship to the Pharaoh, or something equally vague and inadequately explored," she shrugged, looking bored. The thief watched her suspiciously.
"So you plan to re-introduce yourself to your long-lost lover and help him save the world from-"
Bakura blinked at the frank interruption and tried again. "You think you can wait until he comes seeking his memories and-"
"Nope." Aziza blinked innocently at the increasingly infuriated thief as his brilliant mind whirred, trying to understand her plan.
"Then what?" he asked eventually. She shrugged.
"I figure I'll just stay here until Atem and his little friends are done their saving the world thing, and then I'll sneak out the back door when he unlocks it in doing so. Maybe I'll meet up with him in the Afterlife – chances are, he'll take so long saying goodbye to his friends, I'll be there to smile when he finally gets around to making it through the gates." She smiled, as if to mime what she was planning. "'Oh, hi, honey'," she tweeted. "'How was your life? What? You got yourself trapped in your puzzle? That's too bad. Oh, really? The world almost ended, and you went through hell and back to stop that from happening? Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. I wish I could have helped.' And then I'll kiss him or pet his hair or something and that will be that."
Bakura stared at her. "You don't want to go and join the struggle?" he questioned suspiciously. "I find that hard to believe." Aziza shrugged again.
"I've hidden here for five thousand years – what's another few?" she asked lazily. Bakura squinted at her, trying to find the deceit in her perfect features.
"But he's your husband – your Pharaoh. Don't you want to help him?"
Another shrug. "My marriage was arranged because I am beautiful, thief. I can sit here and be pretty, and thus serve my purpose, just fine. After careful consideration, I have deduced that being either a main protagonist or antagonist is not worth it in this particular world. In fact, careful research has me concluding that even minor and one-dimensional characters are not even remotely safe."
"…I don't understand," Bakura said, feeling the fourth wall swaying precariously and feeling sweat bead on his forehead. Aziza looked at him frankly.
"The announcer from Duellist Kingdom. The Kaiba brothers' butler. Even they haven't been spared. The butler! He opened a door and somehow ended up paired with every other character in this stupid story."
…And there went the last shred of hope that this beautiful but apparently insane woman was not going to cross the forbidden line. Bakura shot to his feet, cringing, and waited for the world to collapse.
A tense moment passed. Then another. Then another. The thief's eye cracked open, just a bit. Through the slit, he spotted Aziza's smirk.
"Don't worry, thief. We're not in the story: this moment doesn't really exist. The moment you leave that door, or a main character finds out about my existence, then I exist. Until then, I can speak frankly."
Bakura bristled. "I am a main character!" he half-shouted. "I'm the sole reason the Pharaoh is in this puzzle!"
"Well, that and my hubby's stupidity. If he had just taken a sword to your arse, he'd've been free to live his life. But no," Aziza rolled her eyes. "Instead, he had to duel you into submission. Moron." She snorted, apparently disgusted. "And you're not a main character – you're a fragment of the real Bakura's soul, and as such he's the main character, and you will not be the main character again until you two rejoin into one spirit." Bakura tilted his head, fascinated.
"But why does all this mean that you wish to stay here – that you won't help him? Shouldn't you be seeing to it that he doesn't make the same mistakes? Or worse ones?"
Aziza shrugged, waving a hand negligently. "Eh," she shrugged. "This show has a fairly cliché plot, so it's a given he's going to win eventually. I just have to wait it out. Besides, as stated previously, it's in no way worth it."
"Explain," the thief ordered crisply. Aziza shook her head, water flicking from her long hair to splatter around her.
"Fine. It's ridiculous to believe that a Pharaoh over the age of thirteen would not be married, so I had to have existed, logically, although 4Kids may well have edited me out, because child marriages are apparently incredibly bad, even when the anime is set in a time when most people didn't live past twenty-five. Anyway, most fans think Atem's gay, so all of them would be heartbroken to learn that he had been married. The rest are shippers of one kind or another, and that will lead to conflict when it turns out that hot, kinky sex with Anzu or Ishizu or Mana or Mai or Serenity would be cheating. When this gets out, riots will happen. They'll come up with all sorts of crazy ideas: I'm a fraud, I'm a whore, I'm a trophy wife… whatever. Not worth the hate mail. And then there's the shippers who'd come after me."
At Bakura's confused look, she gestured him to follow and squelched her way across the room, leaving wet footprints where she stepped. Briefly, Bakura felt a pang of pity for her, soaking wet for five thousand years, and made a mental note to slit the throat of the next queen he killed.
"See? Look," she said, seating herself gracefully before a glowing computer in the corner. "There is literally every and any pairing out there. You and the Pharaoh is a popular one, by the way."
Bakura blanched, looking over her shoulder.
Grunting, the former Pharaoh couldn't suck any air into his lungs because Bakura sucked it all out of him from kissing him. The two were fighting for dominance again until Atem won again. During the kiss, both teens took of the other's shirt off and threw it somewhere in the room.
Atem broke the kiss and started to passionately kiss the Thief King's jaw line to his neck. Stopping at the centre side of the albino's neck, the former Pharaoh started to suck on the delicate neck, making the other gasp and moan from the pleasure.
He broke off, unable to read any more.
"This is… sick. I need mind bleach," he gasped. Aziza grinned, enjoying her murderer's discomfort.
"Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg," she chuckled. "Any pairing you can think of, it exists. And terrible, terrible fanfictions. It's truly horrifying. You want some four-way? We can add the Kaiba brothers to the mix, if you want."
Bakura tried to force his mind back to the task at hand, tearing his eyes away from the horrifying porn describing copulation between himself and his most hated arch-rival.
"But… but how is it possible for you to know all of this? You live hidden away in an ancient Millennium artefact – you should have no idea that computers even exist, much less be so knowledgeable about the repercussions of me outing you."
Aziza rolled her eyes. "Because, Bakura," she said, her voice falsely sweet, "This is one of those terrible fanfics I wished to avoid. Discontinuity and plotholes abound."
Bakura's eyes widened. "This is a fanfic?" he echoed disbelievingly. Aziza sighed.
"More of a drabble, really. But yes, yes it is. We are at present, I am afraid, not being conducted on the whim of a Japanese adult with continuity problems, but rather by a teenaged girl who goes by the name of 'Twin1'."
"'Twin1'?" Bakura's disbelief was comical. "Why in Re's name would she call herself that?"
"It was the best she could come up with. Apparently. Will you leave now?"
"…Can I stay here instead?"
Aziza grinned. "No. You're already in the story, and no-one ever dies, so you have to go back. Enjoy yourself."
"I'm not going to be called back into the show for, like, five thousand episodes," Bakura said desperately. "Can't I at least surf the 'net for a while?" Aziza considered, before another chair materialized beside her own.
"Take a seat," she conceded, nodding her head towards it. "But if this ever gets out to the general public, there will be hell to pay. I'll be paired with you, with Atem, with you and Atem, with – I don't know, that blonde one who was wandering around in here a few months back: Joey? There will be no end to the sick and twisted things they will come up with."
A few minutes later, Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged began to play, and the pair whiled away the boring episodes in which each of them were forgotten.