Disclaimer: YuGiOh is owned by Kazuki Takahashi and all characters involved in this story are his (unless you know they aren't). Kiss and Dwell is a book written by Kelley St. John, and this story is based off of it.
Once upon a time, there was a mighty Pharaoh who ruled over the land of Egypt. He was blessed with the power of the sight, which allowed him to see the ghosts of the dead. For many years he didn't know what it meant, and he was haunted by the sight of the tormented souls that wailed for peace. He wanted to help them, but he didn't know how. Until he actually talked to one of the spirits.
"I always wanted to sail along the Nile, just like you," the man told the king, glamour and admiration glimmering in his dead, black eyes. "But I was never able to when I was alive, and now that I'm dead I still can't."
But the pharaoh was stubborn, and he loved all of his subjects. So he ordered his servants to take the him and the ghost down the Nile in his boat on the next windy day. The ghost was so overjoyed that he was able to let go of all his regrets in life and he vanished from the mortal plain. The Pharaoh realized what he had to do then. He had to figure out what the ghosts had lacked in their lives and give it to them.
He spent the remainder of his life helping the dearly departed pass to paradise. But balancing the duties of a king and a meduim was hard work, and the stress ended up killing him long before his time. His most trusted servant, his beloved cousin and priest (as well as his successor) was the only one who knew of the Pharaoh's secret work with the ghosts. The new Pharaoh knew that the spirits still needed help, and without the dead king to guide them, they would be lost.
So he chose a family to bear the weight of this job. A very loyal family to the throne, whose descendants would continue to carry on the meduimship long after this family was gone. Each son was marked to show their devotion and their sacred duty. Each daughter had to be chosen, hand picked by the Pharaoh himself from his place in paradise. Yes, he still watches out for his subjects and the ghosts they care for, as he is the one who sends the ghosts to the mediums. And he will always be there to help the spirits who need him.
"The end," Ishizu concluded as she closed the home made picture book, running her fingers over the bumpy cardboard cover as she studied each of her younger brothers in turn. "So, did you like it?"
Marik, the older of the twins by a little less than five minutes, had his pillow in his lap and his chin on the pillow. He seemed rather disinterested, that or very sleepy. "The pictures were weird," he said, pointing to the messy stick figures drawn in kohl on the cover. Ishizu sighed.
"Well, neither Odion nor I are very artistic, Marik. We tried our best." She pet the 9-year old's hair, smiling softly at him. "But I meant the story."
"I liked it!" Mariku exclaimed from his own bed across from Marik's. Between the two beds was a chair which Ishizu sat in now. "It's like what Father is always talking about, but it made more sense."
Ishizu turned her smile on him. "Thank you Mariku. And yes, it's exactly like what Father is always talking about. This really happened, you know." She drummed on the cover with her fingers, then opened it back up to the first page where a rather pathetic illustration of the pharaoh lay smeared on the wrinkled parchment. "Odion and I just put it in kid's terms so you two could understand it. We're those descendants. That's why you two are having your initiation tomorrow. You'll be marked, and then you'll be able to help ghosts just like Father and Odion."
"Except Odion was chosen, just like a girl," Mariku snickered. He put his hands over his mouth when Ishizu gave him a look, feigning innocence.
"Odion was very lucky to be chosen. Since he's not actually our blood, we all thought he would never have the sight. But the Pharaoh blessed Odion, just as he was blessed himself." She stood, smoothing out her skirt. "Now you two need to get some sleep. You have a very big day tomorrow. You're turning ten! And after your initiation we can have a party. Won't that be fun?" She watched each boy wiggle under his respective covers, then tucked them in and kissed them each goodnight. But when she went to kiss Marik's forehead, he turned away.
"I don't want to help ghosts," he murmured with a pout, glaring at the wall. Ishizu sighed and sat down beside him.
"I know you don't. None of us wanted to at first. But you'll find there's nothing more rewarding than helping someone no one else can help." She pulled him up and hugged the reluctant boy tight. "You'll learn to love it."
"No I won't."
"Oh, just you wait." She lay him back in his bed, fixing the bedsheets around him again and pressing an insistent kiss to his temple. "It's more fun than it sounds." She put the book on their small, two-shelved book case, then blew out the candles that lit the room. "See you two in the morning. I love you."
"I love you too," the twins murmured back. With a final 'goodnight', Ishizu closed the door, leaving them both in darkness and silence. For a few minutes, neither of them spoke, nor moved. They barely even breathed. After what felt like an eternity for both of them, Marik got out of his bed and padded over to the book case. After retrieving the book their siblings had made for them, he climbed in bed with Mariku. His twin made room for him, putting the blankets over both their heads and pulling out a small flash light from inside his pillow case. He turned it on, illuminating Marik's worried face and the book, which was turned to the last page where a man in blue held a golden scepter over a couple that resembled their parents.
"After tomorrow, we'll be able to see ghosts," Marik whispered, so softly it was hard for Mariku to hear him. Still he nodded, gazing at his brother as his brother gazed at the illustration.
"Are you scared?" Mariku asked him suddenly, drawing his attention away from the book. He was wearing the same expression as Marik, but it showed far less. He took the book from Marik and turned the page, showing him what Ishizu hadn't; a pictorialization of the designs that would be carved into their backs tomorrow, the mark of the mediums. Marik's lips tightened as he looked at it. He drew his twin into an embrace.
"Yeah," he admitted silently.
Marik held Mariku closer, tucking his face into the crook of his neck. "It'll be okay," he hummed, even though he wasn't so sure it would be himself. He let Mariku push the book away from them and heard it fall to the floor. Then Mariku was clinging back. Marik pet his hair. "Ishizu said she'd be there for us. And Odion too. And Dad got it done too and he's okay." His voice was getting thick, and he felt tears sting his eyes. Even with all the support, he still really did not want to do this. He didn't want to get marked and he didn't want to help any stupid ghosts. He just wanted to be a normal kid.
Soon Mariku was asleep, wrapped tight in Marik's arms. The elder of the twins stayed awake though, worries for the future keeping him from sleeping. After what was finally hours, he drifted off into a restless, ghost-riddled, nightmarish sleep.
Hello guys! I know that for some of you the discontinuation of Soulless was hard to take. So I'm happy to inform you that I will not only be continuing Kiss and Dwell, I'll also be re-writing it! Watch out for the updates!