"The identity matrix is…"
Yugi's attention drifted around the room. There was Jonouchi, no doubt writing yet another love note to Mai. Beside him was Honda, gazing wistfully over at Miho as he played with his prized Beautification Club sash. Anzu's seat was empty: she was off doing something or other with the student council. Slowly, he came to focus on the unusual sounds that only he could hear coming from his Puzzle. Yugi rested his head in his hands and looked quizzically down at his Millennium Item, as though he would be able to see through its walls into his friend's labyrinthine soul room. Pharaoh… he called silently.
There was no answer. The sounds seemed to grow louder and clearer the longer Yugi listened, until he was finally able to identify heavy breathing and infrequent moans.
Pharaoh…? Yugi tried again. When he was still ignored, he poked the Puzzle in hopes of disturbing its inhabitant.
"Mr. Muto, define the identity matrix!"
The teacher scowled. "Pay attention, please, Mr. Muto. Can anyone fill him in on what he's missed? Yes, Mr. Bakura?"
"It's a square matrix with a one in each position on its principal diagonal, and—"
Yugi raised his hand in the middle of his friend's explanation. "May I use the restroom?" Before he was even given permission, he jumped up and dashed out of the classroom. Upon reaching his destination, he made certain he was alone before speaking aloud. "Pharaoh!"
The ghostly manifestation of his friend appeared beside him. What is it, Yugi?
"Why didn't you answer me in class?"
I… the Pharaoh began, confusion written across his face. I didn't hear you. I'm sorry. What was it that you wanted?
"What were you doing?"
I was thinking. Why?
"That's not what it sounded like…" Yugi muttered. He turned away, a little wounded by his friend's lacking explanation.
The Pharaoh's response mirrored Yugi's apparent resentment, if not reflected through his own perplexity. What did it sound like, Yugi?
Yugi could tell well enough that the Pharaoh was honestly unaware of the noises. "It's…never mind. What were you thinking about, Pharaoh?" He watched his friend lean back against a sink.
The Pharaoh's head sank in thought. I…don't remember much, he said. Just that… He frowned as his voice trailed off.
" 'Just that' what?" asked Yugi, tilting his head.
It doesn't make any sense…
"I might be able to help you make sense of it if you tell me," coaxed Yugi.
After a moment's hesitation, the Pharaoh looked up. All I can remember is that Kaiba was present.
Yugi blinked. "That's weird."
Can you help me make sense of it?
"I…" Now that he knew what had been going through the Pharaoh's mind, Yugi wasn't sure he wanted to. But if he didn't help now, his closest companion would be left to sulky brooding for several days until he finally figured it out on his own. "Where would a thought of Kaiba stem from?"
Isis said that in Ancient Egypt he was one of my high priests, and that we fought a battle. That's probably all it is, actually…
"I'm not sure that's it this time…"
What do you mean, Yugi?
The bathroom door burst open to reveal Jonouchi. "Hey, Yugi, you better get back to class before sensei gives you detention or something." He came to a stop beside his significantly smaller friend. "What've you been doing in here, anyway?"
"I was talking to the Pharaoh," he replied.
A look of mock terror crossed Jonouchi's face. "Don't tell me: he's sensing that he's gotta save the world from certain doom again, right?"
"Not this time."
Jonouchi grinned. "Phew, that's a relief. Say, Yugi, can you stall for me while I run this," he produced a sealed envelope—no doubt containing the love letter he had been writing earlier for Mai—from his jacket, "to the post office?"
"Thanks man, you're a real pal!" With that, he dashed off.
Yugi stared after him for a moment before heading back to class, racking his mind for a way to keep Jonouchi out of trouble.
That afternoon, Yugi chose to walk home alone, telling his friends only that there was something he needed to discuss with the Pharaoh. Privately discuss with the Pharaoh. As he passed through the heart of the shopping district, he noticed a familiar figure towering above the crowd. He crept closer, wanting to be sure it was who he thought before calling out a name. The small figure following close at the other's heels was enough to quell Yugi's doubt. "Kaiba!" Ready or not, Pharaoh, this is where you take over. Yugi withdrew his soul from his body and watched as the Pharaoh was drawn out to take his place.
Kaiba turned just as the change took place.
For a moment, the Pharaoh was entirely dumbstruck. He laid into Yugi the second he regained his voice, yelling down at the Puzzle like a madman, despite the presence of the boy's ethereal projection to his right. "Hey! Yugi…I'm not…you can't…this isn't a duel!" He looked up to see the object of his mysterious daydream frowning down at him. A deep flush colored his pale face. "Hello."
"What do you want, Yugi? I don't have time to chat."
Say something! Yugi urged.
Why did you do this?
The boy huffed. Just talk to him, okay? I'm helping you make sense of your thoughts.
The Pharaoh swallowed visibly. If you say so. "Kai-Kaiba," he began.
Yugi paid close attention to the way his friend stuttered and shifted uncomfortably on the busy sidewalk, so apart from his usual cool detachment that it was like seeing a totally different person.
"Do you…do you ever dream about your ancient past?"
Kaiba's frown deepened. "I don't have an ancient past, you imbecile!"
"What about when you were talking in your sleep last night?" asked Mokuba. "You kept talking about a pharaoh and a rod, rememb—"
"Mokuba, we're going home!" the CEO snapped as his face contorted into an expression of simmering fury.
"But what about the capsules you promised you were going to buy me?"
"We don't have the money." Without another word, Kaiba stalked off with his little brother in tow.
As the two disappeared from sight, Yugi gently took over his body. He felt his heart racing in his chest. He swallowed a few times, trying to replenish the saliva that had vacated his desert-dry mouth.
Well, Yugi, can you make sense of it?
The boy took a moment to regulate his sporadic breaths. Pharaoh, he said silently, I think you have a crush on Kaiba.
What does that mean?
It means that you…admire him. A lot.
Can you tell I hate math from the way my characters treat it?
So, hello, I have returned from my nine-month senior year hiatus with a prideshipping fic - SURPRISE! No, this is not because I have suddenly decided I'm dropping my Ryou/Bakura/Marik projects to pursue a fanfic career in prideshipping. I have actually joined a fanficcing contest called The YuGiOh Fanfiction Contest! It is exciting, indeed!
Also, guess who's turning eighteen on the seventeenth of this month? You know what makes a wonderful present? No, it's not a kiss from Bakura...not that I would argue if I were offered one...^_^ Reviews would be lovely, especially if they help me improve this story for the contest! Thanks everyone for reading!