Egypt.

Ryou had always found Egypt the most fascinating country of existence. Of course this had nothing to do with the fact that he had once been possessed with a ancient Egyptian spirit. Or because his best friend was Egyptian. Or because ancient Egyptians created shadow games with shadow magick. Or because he was the reincarnation...fine, maybe those did were a teensiest side of the reason! Happy now? Geeze.

Said best friend was yelling about something or another, but said best friend was always yelling about something or another and Ryou had instinctively ignored him.

"RYOOOOOOOOU!"

The Egyptian sun was blazing down out the window and the silken, rustling curtains brushed against his cheek. The velvet air smelt of incense and fire and scorching sand.

"RYOOOOOOOOOOOOU!"

Were there spirits out there now that he could not see? Gliding across those graveyards of sand...haunting with the purpose of revenge...

Ryou gave a little yelp as a blur of gold and purple crashed into him unexpectedly; knocking him to the ground.

He turned wide brown eyes to the figure sitting comfortably on top of him. Purple robes, blonde spiky hair, lavender eyes. Lurid purple robes. Ridiculously spiky blonde hair. Angry lavender eyes. HUGE SCOWL OF ANNOYANCE.

"Er...hi Marik?"

"Why weren't you answering me?" And there it was, the evil best-friend 'poor-me, hurt-and-angry-eyes'.

"Uh..." Ryou tried for a smile. It didn't affect Marik in the slightest. The smile faded. "I'm sorry."

Marik sighed and all the anger bled from his features in a moment. He released the white-haired youth from his death-grip, tackle-hold, and rolled off him. "I wasn't going to hurt you Ryou."

Ryou opened his mouth to say something - perhaps that he never even considered that Marik would hurt him, how that was the farthest thought from his mind - but nothing came out. He had been startled to hear Marik put his finger on the pulse of the problem.

"Anyway, I was trying to call you because Ishizu wants us to lead some tourists over to some tombs."

Ryou blinked. "I-I...Didn't know that it was still tourist season." He lifted a hand to scratch the back of his head; fully appreciating Marik's change of the subject.

Marik's lavender eyes narrowed in a cat-like manner as he spoke. "That's just the thing. I know Ishizu says 'its always tourist season' and all that crap, but no-one, and I mean NO ONE, has ever asked specifically for a guide through that tomb."

Ryou froze. He knew exactly what tomb Marik was talking about and felt ultimately as suspicious as Marik sounded.

"Who are they? What are their names? Do we know them at all? Are they dangerous?"

Marik grinned unexpectedly. "All the right questions, Ryou! Now you need to help me find the answers!" he grabbed Ryou by the sleeve and dragged him at easy-to-trip-over-a-flat-pencil speed before Ryou had even the notion of protesting.

"Wait, wait MARIK!" Best friend stopped suddenly, causing Ryou to crash right into him. Of course they had to be on the stairs at that particular moment.

Boom. Bam. Boom. Bam. Boom. Bam. Boom. Bam. CRUNCH.

Ryou ended up mostly-above Marik in a tangle of limbs, and what was felt like the metamorphosis of a migraine.

He lifted his head feebly and his blurred vision began to sharpen.

Woman's shoes. Woman's ankles. Woman's skirt. Woman's torso with hand-on-hips. Woman's face...

"Ishizu!" squeaked Ryou.

Scowl faded briefly.

"Honestly," she pulled him up with some difficulty. Although she huffed a little, she didn't seem especially angry. Ryou always wondered about Ishizu...

"I think I broke something," moaned her brother, from his position on the ground.

"Growing pains," said Ishizu sweetly, ignoring the tanned hand that reached for assistance.

"In my head!" shrieked Marik, jabbing said body-part and wincing thereafter.

"I certainly hope so," said his sister with a sugary poison in her voice and evil triumph in her eyes, "a wonderful day for us all! Let us celebrate the birth of Marik's first braincell!"

Ryou couldn't help it. It kind of slipped out.

He giggled.

Marik stared at him, for this traitorous display of betrayal, and then turned on Ishizu with a battle-cry; planning on destroying her perfectly-brushed black hair...

Only he had forgotten the state he was in after falling down stone steps. He crumpled on the floor; moaning in pain. This time the incoherent jumble involved a foot.

Ryou laughter died as he tried to help him up, but it looked like something was wrong with Marik's ankle.

"Ishizu," he began with a slight tremor. "I don't think Marik can walk like this."

Marik's sister was looking a very little bit worried. "Idiot," she whispered gently to her brother, as she helped Ryou carry him to the couch.

"But," Marik protested. "I have to take those tourists to...OW!" his ankle was jerked again on accident.

"Nonsense!" snapped Ishizu. "I'll do that."

Ryou made a quick calculation and then interjected bluntly. "I'll do it."
"What?" the siblings turned to him. Their faces had gotten so close while they were arguing that this caused their skulls to collide; eliciting more than one curse-and-groan.

Ryou breathed deeply and explained. "I know the tombs fairly well-" ("FAIRLY WELL?" snorted Marik, "You have the hidden passages and beaten passages so ingrained into you skull as to-") Ryou glared at Marik with Ishizu( who had the decency to listen to Ryou's argument) and continued. "So it should be no problem for me to lead a couple of tourists around. And then Ishizu can get someone to look at your ankle and continue on with her actual job."
The siblings blinked.

Ishizu looked at Ryou appraisingly. Marik's eyes narrowed. He was not as stupid as he often appeared. He was actually very intelligent when he bothered to be so.

Then Ishizu gave a curt nod, and walked out of the room for a phone. Marik hissed Ryou over and gripped his wrist.

"What. Are. You. Doing?"

"Call the Pharaoh. Have him summon Mystic Elf when she's," he motioned to the door where Ishizu had just made her exit, "not looking. We have some detecive work to do."

A moment of narrowed eyes and then Marik nodded. And then Marik grinned, and Ryou did not feel as comfortable as he had been a moment before.

"Know anything about these tourists?" he asked the Egyptian boy nervously.

"Nope," said Marik cheerfully. And then he became serious once more. Actually Marik was always serious. He had this foolishly-happy facade but it was not staying put right now. Whenever anything related to his former Yami came up, it fell a little. And though Marik had grinned, he was a little scared of talking to the Pharaoh since...since...

"Ask Ishizu. And be careful." Dead serious. Marik was dead serious.

Ryou nodded, trying to look calm, and went into the other room. Ishizu was just putting the phone back down on the reciever.

"Who are they?" he asked after a moment.

"Who?" Ishizu looked tired. There were dark rings under her eyes, and she let a sigh from her mouth flutter her dark hair. She sounded confused with the question.

"The...the tourists."
"Oh," she gave a odd laugh, "they're not really tourists, Bakura." Ryou winced a little at the name.

"They're archaeologists and professors from England, I believe. And it's possible," she made an odd little grimace as though she were reluctant to add this, "It's possible that your father is with them."

Time froze. The world spun around Ryou's head.

Years. It had been years since he had seen, or even gotten any news of his father. He had almost given up hope. Now he could understand Ishizu's reluctance to speak. And now he understood why she had wanted him to join Marik in leading these foreigners through the tomb. She had known that if his father wasn't there, it wouldn't make a difference, and if his father was there...he would see him.

Ryou felt a surge of warmth towards her.

"I...I see." his voice had become strangely calm. But his hands were shaking.

Ishizu looked a little apprehensive. "Are you alright."

"I'm fine - just fine." he choked. Blinked.

"I'll go."

"No, it's fine. He's likely not there. I'll be alright."

Ishizu looked at him doubtfully. The long white hair, the pale skin - highly unusual for one who had been under the Egyptian sun - the soft brown eyes that were brimming with determination.

"Alright."
"Who's leading the," he gave a little laugh, "expedition."
Her brows crinkled. "I believe it's one Bill Weasely."