Right then, here you go folks, the final chapter. When I said this was going to be epic, I probably meant the damn length. It's taken me longer to proof than to write! Ideally, for maximum enjoyment, it should be separated into two chapters, but since I am anxious to complete it, I have posted the entire thing.
So without further ado, please enjoy...
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!
"My Pharaoh, you are urgently needed in the Throne Room," Isis's soft voice woke the couple from their slumber. Untwining his limbs from around Seto's, Atem sat up groggily.
"I will be there shortly, Isis," Atem replied, rubbing the residue of sleep from his eyes and suppressing a yawn. They fell asleep when first light began to dilute the dark skies. As he predicted, he didn't get much rest.
"Yes, my Pharaoh," the priestess acknowledged and silently retreats.
Atem looked across to Seto who was reclined on his side, a smile twitching on the corner of his lips as he stared up at his pharaoh. The latter leant forward and tenderly kissed the mirthful lips, "I think we had better get up now," he suggested. "It is suspicious enough that we will be turning up at the meeting together; it will be worse if we both show up late as well."
Seto chuckled and pulled the speaker in for an ardent kiss, nibbling the lips as his tongue lapped hungrily.
"Seto..." Atem remonstrated as he tried to push the other away, "Shimon will be most displeased with us."
"So?" came the nonchalant reply, in between the kisses. "Let him."
Atem laughed and pulled away, he really needed to get away before their kiss escalated into something more heated and physical. He grinned impishly at the pouting Seto and began to crawl off the bed. Seto, unable to resist the taut bare rump, exposed so seductively towards him, slapped it playfully. A cry of protest and a tepid glare was aimed his way, the puckered lips informed the impertinent priest of his pharaoh's displeasure.
Seto laughed heartily.
The atmosphere in the Throne Room was sombre—it immediately sobered the love-struck pair. Though no one mentioned it, the appearance of the youngest priest and the pharaoh raised a few eyebrows. Multiple pairs of eyes spied them curiously, but none voice their concerns. Only Isis, looked on with indifference, she knew the moment she discovered Seto's room unoccupied that morning.
"My Pharaoh," Shimon began, "it seemed Zorc has been busy destroying everything in sight. We cannot let this act of aggression go unchallenged, we must respond immediately!"
Atem paled and stared at his advisor. Seto could feel the guilt rolling off the sovereign in waves, his unspoken thoughts could be heard loud and clear. Whilst I was cavorting with Seto, people were dying!
Seto scowled at the elderly man. The latter knew such words would wound the petit male.
"Then we shall confront him and end this once and for all!' The pharaoh declared. "Guardians and Guards prepare for battle, we will meet our enemy head on. With our hearts and strength united, we shall prevail!"
Cheers met the words of inspiration, both guardians and guards felt encouraged. They knew the pharaoh would lead them to the promised victory—he would not lie to them.
Turning to Shadi, Atem said, "Instruct the horses to be prepared, we will set out as soon as they are ready. The longer we tally the more we are endangering lives. We must make haste."
"As you wish, my Pharaoh," Shadi replied with a low bow and a swift retreat.
As they dispersed to make their way to the main courtyard, Seto grabbed Atem by the arm and steered him to an adjacent chamber where they could be alone. There, the priest mashed his lips against his sovereign's in a passionate kiss; it knocked the breath out of the unsuspecting youth. When they parted, Seto hugged Atem in a fierce embrace; one hand encircled the slender waist, whilst the other held the back of the spiky head. Atem closed his eyes and rested his cheek on the sculpted chest, he could hear the rapid beating of his lover's heart—the tempo mirrored his own violent pulsations.
"Seto?" he murmured softly, the caresses on his head seemed desperate, as were the feverish kisses placed on his head.
"Promise you will not do anything rash and dangerous, Atem," the priest begged. "Promise you will return safely to my side."
Small hands reached up and gripped the back of the blue tunic tightly. "Seto, I—" and he stopped. Burying his face into Seto's chest, the youth did not continue.
Seto refused to be brushed off. "Promise me, Atem!" he demanded.
Relinquishing the hand on the tricolour head, he placed a finger and thumb under the small chin. It tilted the petit face upwards, compelling the other to look at him. Sorrow-filled crimson reluctantly meet determined blue and Seto inclined his head so their temples contacted. To Atem, the gesture felt oddly intimate.
"Atem?" the priest insisted, impatient for his answer.
The pharaoh sighed. "I promise," he conceded wearily, noting the smile of relief hovering on Seto's lips. As if to reward him for his compliance, Seto kissed his lover tenderly again and again... unwilling to let him go.
"Seto," Atem protested, a little breathless. "They'll be waiting for us, we ought to get going." Seto reluctantly withdrew his arms and Atem, though relieved, loathed the subsequent emptiness that it entailed. Standing on his toes, he leaned in for a final kiss, a fervent and heartfelt kiss, which spoke of love and desire.
My love, Atem whispered in his heart as he pulled away. "Come," he said, holding out his hand, "we shall defeat Zorc together!"
Taking the small proffered hand, Seto smiled. "Yes, let us defeat him quickly so we can resume where we left off this morning," he leered.
Atem blushed to the roots of his hair.
"FUCK!" Seto swore as he stared with hatred towards the man who claimed to be his father.
Abducted to the palace, whilst he was in the middle of a battle, the servant of Darkness stood arrogantly before him, tempting him with promises of a future as king if he was willing to serve the new Kingdom of Shadows bought on by Zorc's victory. Seto dismissed the proposition as ranting of a maniac. The man was no longer the person he knew and he was certainly not his father. His father had died valiantly on the battlefield many years ago whilst serving the previous Pharaoh, Atem's father. He too, will do the same. He will faithfully serve Atem to the very end.
As if to make Seto succumb to his request, Akhenaden began to shake the palace's foundation. It began collapsing.
Thoughts of the girl rippled through his panicky mind and Akhenaden read it, the subsequent taunts were loud in his ears as he ran to save the girl. He wasn't sure why he was so anxious for Kisara's safety—could it have been for the sake of the White Dragon, he wondered? Deep down inside, he knew it wasn't. She evoked a feeling inside of him, which he did not understand. During the brief time they spent together, she revealed to him a light, a shimmering beacon, that had nothing to do with the White Beast. Her fragile and gentle nature made him want to protect her, he could not bear to see what she stood for extinguished, it made him falter when it came to killing her and extracting her soul.
However, his rescue attempt was a mistake—it led Akhenaden straight to her.
Seto told Kisara to flee, but it was in vain. Intent on fulfilling his desire to see his son as the next ruler, Akhenaden decided to make a gift for Seto.
He killed Kisara as she fled.
Sorrow washed over the priest as he held the still figure in his arms, her death made him understand a little of his own feelings towards her. He loved her. He loved the light she had brought into his life; it shone bright in his heart. It was a love that was different from Atem's; her innocence, her adoration and her naivety refreshed him. She loved him readily. How could he not return some of that love, which was so akin to his own sentiments? He knew how painful it was to love unconditionally. Did he not love Atem like that for most of his life?
"…All I want is to be able to love Atem, the man and for him to wholly love me back!"
That was what he threw at Mahado on the day he discovered Atem's infidelity. Kisara's love represented all that he yearned from Atem. She loved him and him only—for that he wanted to keep her imprisoned in the jail of his heart, never to be freed. Selfish as it may sound, he needed her to provide him with hope again. Atem's love, though deep, was tempestuous and turbulent. Like sand in the desert, it was forever shifting—never still—scattering Seto's confidence like the golden grains in a sand storm. It arduously challenged him on a daily basis. In comparison, Kisara's love was like the aged old pyramids, steady and secured, but she would never provide the challenge like a certain crimson-eyed youth would, neither would she make his heart weep, bleed and leap with joy. Her death, though painful and regrettable, was nowhere near the torment he suffered when he thought he had lost Atem. He prayed to Ra, he would never experience that agony again.
Forgive me, Kisara, he thought sorrowfully as he made his way to the empty stone tablet, for I am responsible for your death.
Akhenaden's cackle shook Seto from his reverie, "A God shall be born," he cried out triumphantly, a gnarled finger pointing to the motionless female, "and with that you shall join our ranks and fight against the Pharaoh!"
Seto stared at the insane man, pitying him for his presumptuous and delusional thoughts. As much as he hated him, he resisted the darkness that threatened to blind him. He knew it was what the other wanted.
Nonetheless, Akhenaden knew the boy far too well, he knew Seto would never willingly betray his pharaoh; he could sense the other's defiance.
So he killed himself and fused his soul with his son's.
Being the stronger of the two, Akhenaden took control over Seto's body and used the Millennium Rod to extract the Ka from Kisara's body. All the while, Seto looked on helplessly, each movement the other commanded, filled him with revulsion.
When the White Dragon was securely engraved on the Stone Tablet, Akhenaden turned to the direction of the battle. "Now, let us kill the Pharaoh together, my son," he declared gleefully.
It jolted Seto out of his passive state. NO! The voice within dissented. I will not let you!
Akhenaden laughed at his son's defiance, the struggle was amusing. "Tell me, Seto," he asked scornfully, "do you honestly think you can save him, or stop me, for that matter?" A soft chortle followed those words. "Confronted with me in your body, do you think he would harm you? I have an advantage over him because I know his weakness, Seto. His weakness is you!"
Seto baulked, his anger flaring to the words. I will do whatever I can to prevent you from hurting Atem, he vowed, even if it were at the expense of my life!
"My, my, Seto, what big threats coming from a powerless person trapped inside his own body! How are you going to stop the great White Dragon from blasting your beloved into the afterlife?" Akhenaden sneered. "Knowing how weak the pharaoh will be from his battle with Zorc, do you think he even stands a chance against his powerful adversary? Personally, I think it is ironic that the two love rivals will be confronting each other, it will be amusing to see who will prevail in the end."
Terror and dread began to plague Seto. The vision of Atem being incinerated by the White Dragon's fiery blast scared him. NO! He thought, NO, he cannot allow it to happen—he simply cannot!
"And how do you propose to stop me, my son?" Akhenaden asked. "Kisara's Ka is strong, I can feel her presence inside of you. She will not allow another to take what she deemed as hers."
On hearing that, Seto searched inside of him for the aforementioned...
His mind stretched towards it and it bathed him in its glowing warmth, its familiarity...
Atem stood in front him, regal and straight, his body emitting a blinding white light.
Atem! He silently cried out. Why are you here?
Why, you ask? A sad smile played on the pharaoh's lips as he looked at the captured priest. Moving forward, he approached the rooted figure stopping only a few strides away him. Lifting up a hand, he pointed to the beating core buried in the toned chest. Am I not always here, in your heart, Seto? Am I not the light that gave you hope and aspiration throughout your life?
In those cold dark nights when you were alone, was it not me, you yearned for, dreamt about and kept you company? Was it not me, you pursued and sought comfort in?
The flame, which burn so bright in your heart, do not allow it die out. Use it to fight the darkness within you, use it to set yourself free from the confines of your soul, and use it to shine with pride. Whether I live or die, matters not... As long as you love me, my light will forever burn bright, I will live on inside of you.
Atem... Seto thought lovingly, it was then he understood why he loved Kisara—why he was drawn to her light. It reminded him of a presence, which was inside him long before he ever laid eyes on the pale beauty, the familiarity provided him with a sensation he forgotten when he attained Atem. With the subsequent jealousy and insecurities, it dimmed the illumination in his heart, allowing Kisara to replace it.
He was foolish to have not realised it.
"Yes, Seto, you were foolish," Akhenaden stated, "and now it's too late. Watch as I destroy your beloved Atem, for it is only through his death, will you grow independent and strong! White Dragon, I summon thee!"
On that mention, did Seto realise they were nearing the battlefield; he spied the commanding figure of the Pharaoh in the distance. Despite his small stature, his impressive aura was unmistakeable.
No, he thought with horror as he felt the appearance of his White Dragon, the sound of its roar made him fearful for its unsuspecting prey.
Immediately, Akhenaden ordered the attack, "White Dragon, attack with 'Reign of Destruction!'" Unfamiliar words were spoken through his lips, it was his voice that uttered the command—it was his command that was going to kill Atem!
NO! Seto screamed in his mind. He must fight Akhenaden. He must stop the attack. He strained against the invisible shackles that rendered him powerless; the thoughts of Atem fuelled his efforts. However, with each futile attempt, he began to lose hope and it, in turn, reduced the light in his heart to a weak flicker. Paralysed, the shadows crept closer, licking the edges of his consciousness, encouraging the darkness to swallow him. Already, he could feel the hate amassing in him, he hated his weakness and he hated the man who called himself his father...
No, he cried out painfully, NO! STOP!
"WHAT!" Akhenaden yelled in frustration as he glared at his spirit beast. Seto felt the other's anger rising. "No, it can't be! I command you to attack!"
Seto felt the White Dragon fade, its beautiful form dissipating before his eyes to reveal, in its place, an image of a female.
Lord Seto, she said with a soothing smile, you must not allow your heart be snared by the shadows. Always walk on the path of light for I shall protect you.
With those words she transformed once again into her Ka and turned on her killer. Akhenaden's soul met the White Dragon's wrath in full, freeing Seto.
"Thank you, Kisara," Seto said tenderly, as he hurried to his pharaoh's side. "I hope you will continue to guide me."
He felt Kisara smile.
Hopelessness ensued with defeat after defeat. Try as they might to come up with a strategy that allowed them to gain an upper hand on the situation was met with failure upon failure. Zorc was too strong!
Crestfallen with the death of Shadi, Atem continued on, ignoring the pain from his injuries and his fast diminishing Ba. He was nearly out of life force. The three Gods and the White Dragon were not enough to defeat Zorc, the beast feeding off people's fear, grew stronger. So many deaths and self-sacrifices were made in order to overcome the enemy, but it was wasted. The task proved impossible to accomplish.
The pharaoh, disheartened and desperate, sought out his lover.
Seto, after the defeat of his Ka, was lying on his back, incapacitated and critically wounded. Atem's expression softened—his heart swelled with pride at the memory of the priest's Ka. He was truly proud of Seto. His White Dragon was magnificent to behold, only the suspicion on how he attained it marred Atem's stunned delight. Nevertheless, he was pleased the beautiful and powerful creature belonged to him. With such might, no one would oppose Seto as the next Pharaoh. He, Atem, was determined to make it so, he could rest easy knowing Egypt would be in capable hands.
Dropping onto one knee, Atem gently cupped Seto's face in his hand and smiled at him.
The priest hitched his breath in response, it was that smile. "Atem," he whispered in awe, clasping the small hand. Atem's smile deepened, but Seto could see it was tinged with sadness. The expression caused Seto's chest to tighten.
Pulling his hand away, Atem began to rise.
"No, Atem. Stay," Seto pleaded, frantically tightening his hand around the withdrawing one, but to little effect. Void of strength, Atem was able to retract his with a sharp tug. Seto could only watch in dismay as Atem stood up.
"I am sorry, Seto," was all Atem could say before walking off; talking to Zorc until he was a good distance away from him and the others.
Seto knew Atem was trying to distract Zorc from the injured and he hated not being able to stop Atem from employing such tactics. He had failed on all accounts to protect Atem—as a guardian and as a lover. If only he could restore some of his Ba, then he could try to summon his White Dragon again.
The obscene laugh of the beast pulled Seto out of his thoughts and he is shocked to see a blast aimed in Atem's direction.
"No!" Seto yelled in panic. The pharaoh was defenceless…
Light from the blast shrouded the lonely figure and he temporarily disappeared from sight, it was only when the smoke dissipated was Atem visible again. Seto gasped at the sight that greeted him. Standing before his king, with his staff poised in a defence, was the figure in purple…
Atem looked gratefully at his loyal servant. "Mahado," he murmured with a sad smile. "Thank you, my friend."
Mahado looked at Atem and returned the smile. No words were spoken aloud, but conveyed in the mind. I am yours to command, my Pharaoh, Mahado told Atem.
Fiery crimson held onto brown in a steadfast gaze. Then divulge the sealing spell to me, Mahado! The latter ordered.
Mahado stared sorrowfully at his master and shook his head. Do you know what you are asking of me, Atem? Mahado asked; sadness accented each word as he warded off another blast. It is a fate worse than death—
Yet you did it for me, Atem countered. Please, Mahado, if you love me, do as I ask of you. It is the only way I can save my people now.
Another blast hit Mahado's shield and he flinched from the impact. His defence was weakening and time was running out.
Have you no regrets, Atem? Mahado asked gravely. You will never be able to reincarnate, and your soul will be forever lost in an infinite void; does that not make you regret your request a little?
Atem looked at Seto who stared questioningly at him and Mahado.
Mahado caught the gaze and exploited it. How about Seto? Wouldn't you mind never seeing him again and he, you?
Atem's expression softened briefly at the mention of Seto and then hardened with resolve. It is because I love and care for him, that I must do this. He must have a future; I must provide him with one. Too many people have lost their lives today. I cannot bear the guilt of losing more due to my inadequacy to protect them. The burden is heavy, Mahado, and one that I cannot ignore for the sake of my love.
Tearing his gaze away from Seto, Atem looked hard at Mahado. This is the last request I shall ever ask of you, Mahado, so please, indulge my wilfulness one last time.
Mahado regarded Atem mournfully; the crime he was about to commit was too painful to bear. Atem's demise will be his doing—he will be responsible for the act.
You know, even now, I cannot deny you anything, Atem, he said with bitter-filled sadness. So be it, my Pharaoh. Clear your heart and your head, and repeat the chant after me…
Atem nodded his acknowledgement; he gave a long, loving look at Seto and then turned his head away. Raising his arms up to the heavens and closing his eyes he began chanting, concentrating on the unspoken incantation relayed to his heart from the spell-caster. In response, he voiced it, each word he uttered was loud and clear; his resolve did not waver and neither did his voice.
SHIT! Seto cursed as realisation struck him, he now understood what Atem was trying to do. "NO!" Seto shouted. "Don't do it, Atem! Your promise! Atem... Please…!"
Atem's brow furrowed slightly at the entreaty, but continued reciting.
Zorc laughed. "What pitiful creature are you going to summon, Pharaoh?" it asked mockingly. "It will be for naught! You will die, and your subjects and country shall fall. They will be your burial companions." With that said, the beast discharged several large energy blasts at his victim, but was countered by the sorcerer.
Beads of sweat began to form on the slender brows. Drawn together in concentration, Atem continued with his chanting. He fought to keep the fatigue and pain from overwhelming him and he desperately tried to shut out Seto's pleas for him to stop.
Bored with the unresponsive royal, Zorc decided to deal the finishing blow. "Playtime is over, Pharaoh," he declared excitedly. "It's time for you to die! Zorc Inferno!"
A large stream of energy was discharged their way and the sorcerer readied his stance in defence. The energy blast hit the shields, but it did not dispel like the previous ones did. Instead, the beam surged steadily at the two targets until cracks began to form on the barrier.
Seto could see Atem's lips move feverishly, a small trickle of blood seeped from the corner of his mouth; a quick glance at Mahado revealed the spell-caster was suffering the same. The stress of sustaining the magic was beginning to take its toll on them both. Concerned eyes swerve back to Atem to find him staring at him.
Blue and crimson met for a brief moment. Shutting out their present surroundings—it was just the two of them—away from the present mayhem and alone. Words of endearments were not spoken, but the sentiments were there. Everything they felt for each other were revealed in that one look…
And then the moment was gone. Atem returned his focus to the dark heavens.
As the blast intensified, Atem uttered the final line of the spell for all to hear, his voice resounding loudly, as if he were addressing the Gods in the sky:
"I, Atem, the son of Aknamkanon and the present Pharaoh of Egypt, am willing to sacrifice my life and my soul to seal this great evil, Zorc.
Let my name be the bind, which tethers him to an eternity of confinement,
Let me forsake my existence so others may exist in my stead,
Let me be forgotten so others may live to remember,
Let me, 'Atem' be no more!"
"DIE!" Zorc thundered, destroying Mahado's shield and swallowing the two figures behind it with the attack.
"NO!" Seto screamed at the top of his voice. He and the others, paralysed by the horror unfolding before them, watched on helplessly.
A flash of light, so blindingly bright, illuminated the surrounding darkness, forcing the people to shut their eyes. It wasn't until darkness descended over the plains once more, did they dare reopen them. Seto blinked several times to adjust his vision; he eagerly scanned the area for his lover after.
He found him.
Atem stood alone. A small smile graced his face as he looked lovingly at Seto.
"Atem," Seto cried out in relief. "You did it! You defeated—"
A loud crack was heard as the Millennium Pendant shattered from its adhered form, the golden fragments scattering on the ground around its wearer with tinkling sound.
"Se...to..." Atem said softly; his eyes looked longingly at his love. His arms twitched by his side as if he was about to lift them and stretch out so he could embrace his lover, but he never managed it.
Seto looked on in horror as Atem fell to his knees, a soft groan escaped his parted lips as his eyes began to close—locking away the intense crimson gaze that was focused, so lovingly, on him moments ago…
Once on his knees, Atem slowly pitched forward… falling. Upon hitting the ground he laid very still.
"NO!" Seto screamed as he began dragging his immobile body along the ground with his arms; willing himself to move despite the protest from his battered body. He ignored how the ground cut into his skin and flesh as he crawled because each painstaking effort bought him a little closer to his love.
"No! No!" he repeated through gritted teeth, the words fuelling his denial as he continued his trek; not stopping until he reached his pharaoh's side. After many attempts, Seto sat up. Then turning the youth over he pulled the petit body towards his own and shook him gently.
The youth did not respond.
"Wake up, Atem," he said in a choked voice, hands trembling as he shook the limp body with more force. "Open your eyes and see the victory you have given us."
The figure did not respond.
Seto shook a little harder. "I said, 'Wake up, Atem'!" he demanded, his voice desperate as he patted the youth's face. "Please…"
The figure remained unresponsive.
"No," he pleaded with unsuppressed urgency, hugging the small frame. "Please. Ra. No!"
Tears of anguish fell unhindered and splashed onto the still face beneath him as he gently rocked the body back and forth, cradling the tricolour head under his chin.
"You promised, Atem," he sobbed. "You promised you would not do anything rash and dangerous! You promised me!"
The soulless youth remained silent; his promise, broken, much like his treasured pendant strewn around him.
"But I am not angry, Atem. I am not angry with you, so open your eyes and talk to me. I promise I will not scold you—I promise I will never scold you as long as you wake up! Please, Atem!" The note of desperation heightened each word, but Seto's pleas went unheeded.
Atem did not wake.
Eventually, with heart-breaking resignation, he bent his head down and placed a tender kiss on the pale lips—it was still warm. "My beloved," he whispered lovingly as he kissed him again, "sleep well." Then burying his face into Atem's neck he wept, his body wracked with sobs which spoke of his grief and despair. It shook him to the very core and tore wretchedly at his heart. How could he endure a life without Atem? Had he not lived for him? Had he not spent most of his life pursuing him?
He felt the emptiness as he held the lifeless body, the very same body he loved so passionately and devotedly with his entire being.
How long had he sat there? He didn't know. Healers were called and went about healing him. Some of the physical pain had lessened…
But not the pain in his heart!
Recovered to the point of regaining some mobility, Seto gathered his pharaoh in his arms and picked him up with utmost care. Gritting his teeth and suppressing the grunt of pain, he forced himself to stand.
Carefully, he carried his precious burden towards his mount. As Atem's body began to slip, he stopped and hoisted the body up with the help of his knee, planting an indulgent kiss on the tricolour head as he did so. He refused to allow another to touch the body even when the weight proved too much for his spent form—even when he was met with the dilemma with regards to his horse. How to get on the animal without relinquishing the body was a problem until a thoughtful guard went on his hands and knees and requested the priest to use his back as a platform.
Seto was grateful for the consideration.
Subsequently, arriving back at the palace, Seto headed straight to Atem's quarter. It was, thankfully, still intact.
Shimon took a step forward to deter Seto, but Isis stopped him with a lift of her hand and a shake of her head. The remaining guardians, past and present, watched sorrowfully as Seto withdrew with the body.
Unlike usual, the room was dark, illuminated only by the moon's soft rays; it lit the path for Seto as he headed for the bed. After gently placing Atem down, he got up and filled a basin with water from an earthen jug and brought it to the bed.
Soaking a cloth and wringing it out, he proceeded to wipe the delicate face, carefully removing the dirt and sweat ingrained on the skin. When that was done, he undressed the youth. His eyes instantly fell on the kiss mark he had etched on the flesh the night before; he traced the bruise with a light finger and then bent his head down to kissed it. He was glad he had left his mark there; it proved Atem was his, in life and in death.
Once satisfied the body was clean, he removed the water and wrapped the naked form in the linen sheet. Resting a hand on the much-loved face, he lightly rubbed his thumb on a cold cheek, his vision blurred by the tears filling his eyes. Depositing a tender kiss on the stiff lips, he laid his weary self next to his love. With an arm placed across the still chest, he observed the face—it was serene and ethereal in his eternal slumber.
Atem! His heart cried out. How could you be so selfish and leave me behind! I would have gladly died and accompanied you to the afterlife if it meant we would be together, but now... What have you done? How could you?
"I won't forgive you, Atem," he sobbed repeatedly. "I won't forgive you for breaking your promise!"
Without Atem, his existence would be hollow and meaningless, and one that even his White Dragon could not compensate—there could be no replacement for Atem, that much he knew for sure.
Teetering on the verge of unconsciousness, Seto made a pledge, "I will find you, my beloved. You wait and see..."
Outside the air was still, the silence, oppressive as if it, too, mourned the passing of the vibrant youth.
The next day, the guards came for the body and Seto yielded it without a fuss.
"Mahado's tablet disintegrated to dust," Shimon volunteered, his large eyes spying the exhausted male. "It was irrecoverable."
"Mahado served Atem and Atem only, it made sense he ensured he had no other master." Seto retorted, envious of his rival's demise. Death was by far a kinder option.
Shimon looked that young priest and sighed. The face was pale and drawn, his eyes red and puffy from grief. The task he had at hand was not going to be pleasant—not when Seto was still distraught over the loss of his Pharaoh. Pharaoh Atem, or the nameless Pharaoh as he was to be known as, was revered and loved. His reign, though short, had won the hearts of many and his people mourned for him. However, no one felt the loss as keen as the young man in front of him did, the devastation he suffered had exhibited a love, none realised he had.
Unfortunately, the matter of succession was imperative, regardless how insensitive and distasteful the subject was, it forced Shimon to raise it. He cleared his throat. "Lord Seto,' he began, "since the previous Pharaoh had no heir and we cannot leave the kingdom without a ruler, the matter of succession is essential. None has shown as much promise and potential as you for the position, so—"
"So you want me ascend the throne?" the priest interjected, his tone brusque and cold as the blue slits that glowered at the elder. He was displeased that the subject had been broached whilst Atem's death was still fresh in his mind. The audacity of the approach bridled him; it was inconsiderate to say the least and it pissed him off! His anger dulled a little of his pain.
Shimon coughed to hide his discomfort and shifted nervously on his feet. "I know it is insensitive to bring it up, but we cannot leave Egypt without a Pharaoh. The people need a leader to guide them, to rebuild the country and their lives again. The Pharaoh cared so much for them, it was the reason for his sacrifice..."
Seto flinched at the last word, but Shimon continued, "I am certain he would have wanted you to succeed him, I am sure he had faith that you will maintain peace in the land he loved so much. His legacy could continue through you despite he would never be acknowledged. Let him live inside you, let him guide you and let not his sacrifice be in vain."
Atem, the Light of my life...
Seto stared at the elderly advisor, his mouth stretched tautly across the pale face. A variety of thoughts sped through his mind as he contemplated, but none he offered to share with his companion. The longer the silence stretched, the possibility it would result in a refusal, and Shimon began to fear a rejection.
"Fine, I will become the next Pharaoh," he conceded, surprising the older man. "But my condition is this: I want Atem's body to be buried with me. Erect a pyramid for me and ensure it has another burial chamber hidden within it, one that is known to me only. I trust you would keep this matter quiet, Lord Shimon?"
"Why?" Shimon asked, his curiosity colouring the query. "What about the Pharaoh's existing tomb?"
"Use it as a shrine for the Millennium Pendant," Seto replied. "The traps inside should be adequate enough to deter tomb raiders, right? You said say so yourself, if I remember correctly."
"Yes, my Lord," Shimon replied. "However, it is still unconventional for two Pharaohs to be buried like that…"
"Are we not supposed to erase all traces of Atem?" Seto spat venomously. "If so, what problem is there, if I decide to hide the body where no one but me knows?"
Shimon could not answer. The sharp-tongued Pharaoh-to-be was a force to be reckoned with and one with a mind to match his tongue.
"Then your wish will be carried out, my Pharaoh."
"Ensure it does, Lord Shimon," Seto said. "Ensure it does…"
Darkness greeted the man as he woke with a start, his heart thumping violently in his chest. Turning over to his side, he looked long and hard at his lover, a sigh of relief escaped him as he was assured of the other's presence. Brushing a stray bang away from the sleeping face, he kissed the exposed forehead. The person frowned and snuggled closer to the larger form, sighing his lover's name...
"Seto," he breathed out lovingly and then smiled...
How many nights he stayed up, hoping to catch a glimpse of that smile. Even after so long, it still had the same effect on him. It bewitched him, captivated him; tugged at his heartstrings until he could no longer resist.
His heart began racing at a maddening pace.
In order to calm down, Seto took a deep breath; he caught the delicate whiff of exotic spices—a scent that he associated with him and him alone. It aroused him. Pulling the warm body closer, Seto kissed the wild hair; a smile formed on his lips as his body began to stir.
Starting off slowly, Seto petted and licked the soft lips until lust took over and he devoured the mouth greedily, thoughtless to the exhausted person beside him. Hands wandered on the velvety skin, prompting a soft groan from the weary male.
As desire began dictating his actions, a sense of nostalgia flittered across his mind, forming words, which held no meaning, other than it felt oddly right at that moment in time.
"Promise you will stay by my side," he whispered between the kisses. "Promise you will never leave me, and I swear, I will never let you go again. You are mine, Yami, and mine alone! Remember that!"
He felt his lover smile into the kiss and his heart soared, "I promise, Kaiba Seto," Yami murmured lovingly, "my possessive baka!"
Seto laughed heartily as he pulled his beloved closer...
A/N: Ah, there you have it. Finally, it is done!
This has been a long and arduous journey, but one that I am glad I made. Considering it all started on a whim, I was surprised that it lasted this long and that I managed to commit myself to the very end. True, there were times I wobbled and faltered, but in all, I am relieved, yet sadden with its completion.
I would like to thank all those who reviewed, know it was your kind words that kept me going. My special thanks goes to: Mel, CandyassGoth and Candy world for reviewing every single chapter. Your support has been tremendous and I am truly grateful. You, wonderful people, really are the bestest~!
I don't plan on writing another Scandal fic, but the Scandal plunnies have been humping and multiplying so maybe, just maybe, I will write another one if there's enough encouragement from the Scandal camp. It will be an AU fic. Otherwise, I will be focusing on a Caste/Sealshipping fic next, so keep your eyes peeled for that one, if you are interested.
Well then, final thoughts on this chapter or on the entire fic, in general? I would love to hear what you'd like best? Was it the smut, the threesome, the angst...anything at all? Personally, I loved the confrontations between the characters, it was so compelling and intense, it really gave them depth, I thought...
Oh, and did anyone notice what I have done at the end of this chapter? The reference? The little Prideshipping hint is from "Misgivings", I like to see it as the Scandal Pairing's modern day counterparts. Check out the fic if you get the chance; it starts with the fic, "Contemplation of the Jealous Mind."
Long live Scandalshipping~!