The Future of the Past

A Yu-Gi-Oh! Fanfiction

By: Sanjuno Shori Niko

Rating: R

Warnings: AU; YAOI; YURI; SM

Pairings: S/J; YY/Y; M/A

Disclaimer: It is not mine! Do not take my fic without permission! Thank you all. Your cooperation in expected.

-

AN:

So I found my notes for The Future of the Past and figured that I should probably update my longest standing fic. Seeing as it's been… more than a year and a half since I last updated. Um. Yeah. But don't worry! I've found all my notes and the outline and things, so hopefully I can write faster now that I have it all figured out! I'm in contact with my beta again, so it's all to the good.

When I started this fic I had no bloody clue about where it was going. But I fixed that.

And in case you were wondering, I'm taking medication for my depression now. XD I am sure that you are all relieved. I spent a lot of time fixing up the plot holes and stuff in this thing. It's better now.

Right then. Enjoy the fic.

-

Recap:

"My Pharaoh, he was found unconscious in the Keeper's Chamber, and has been kept thus while he is brought to the Palace. He is even now but a few hours from your gates."

Atemu's eyes narrowed as Shada paused.

"Tell me how it stands Keeper of the Key."

"My lord Pharaoh, child of the gods, King of Games, I, Shada, Keeper of the Ankh-Key, come to tell you this..."

The other man straightened and looked straight into Atemu's eyes for the first time since his arrival.

"The Millennium Ring has chosen a new Keeper."

Tsuzuku...

-

The Future of the Past

Chapter Eight: Echoes of Shadowed Grief, Returning to Blood

-

He smiled gently, petting his slaves wild hair as the boy struggled against the ropes that held him still, face twisted in disgust directed at his master. Tutting softly in reproach he allowed himself a moment of self-satisfaction. He was within the Pharaoh's Palace, and soon he would take control of the power that had destroyed his father-in-law's army all those years ago. The power of Shadows would belong to him!

A pained noise drew his attention back to his toy, and he released the tight grip on the youth's hair with a croon of apology. Still wearing a frightening, affable smile he motioned his personal attendant forward. Watching the actions of his servant as the large man played with his toy withmild interest, ignoring the muffled screams of pain and rage produced by the still unbroken toy bound on the floor.

-

Atemu looked at his inner court seriously, watching their reactions as they absorbed the information about the new Holder of the Millennium Ring. Standing to his right was Seth, who already knew about the new Keeper, and was maintaining his frozen mask. Jono was watching the mixed gathering of people he knew and strangers with a solemn expression unaccustomed to his expressive face. After Seth the Priestess Isisu, who wore the Millennium Tauk around her neck, sat on the far right with her husband Rashid and her younger brother Malik, who had somehow managed to insinuate himself into the meeting. Not up to dealing with Malik's particular brand of stubbornness on top of other issues, Atemu decided it was best to ignore him for the moment. The strange blond may even be able to contribute something useful to the meeting.

To his left sat Yugi, who held his hand and smiled when he noticed Atemu's attention. His vizier, Yugi's grandfather Siamun, sat on Yugi's other side, a thoughtful look on his aged face. Next came Maira, the golden band holding the Millennium Eye positioned in the middle of her forehead nearly invisible as always under her wealth of blond hair. Her lover the healer Tea sat next to her, her hand on Maira's forearm in a futile effort to restrain her lover's enthusiasm. Shada was a respectful figure seated at the far left as he quietly waited for his pharaoh to speak, with his beloved Kalim seated by his side.

"What would you have us do, my Pharaoh? We cannot be ready for the ceremony until the new Holder has been properly coached in all his duties."

"You speak truly, Siamun. Yet we still have the diplomatic party to deal with"

Leaning forward, Maira motioned with one hand for emphasis.

"They will not wait for us to have our newest Keeper ready. They will want an audience with we who command and protect this land. We cannot put them off for more than a few days with the excuse of letting them rest from their journey without them thinking that we have something to hide or looking disrespectful of our guests."

Atemu raised one hand, drawing the room's attention.

"Enough, Maira. This is what we will do. In three days we will host a feast to welcome our guests, who claim to come to us in peace. During those three days Maira and Shada will be in charge of filling in any holes in our defences and rooting out the traitors. Try and discover who they answer to if you can, and leave the ones who pose no threat in place so we can keep an eye on them until we decide how we want to deal with them."

Maira and Shada nodded to show their understanding.

"Isisu, I want you to try and discover what you can about who our enemy is and what they want. Keep an eye on the diplomatic party as well, we cannot be certain at this time if their intentions are as peaceful as they claim."

"As you command my Pharaoh."

"Siamun, old friend, I ask you to keep your attention on our guests for the time being. Discover as much about them and their intentions here as you can."

"I will do so."

Siamun's eyes twinkled with a merry sense of mischief that his age had not dimmed.

"Seth, you and I shall deal with our new Holder. Once we find out how much he can do and how much work he needs we can decide on the right time for the ceremony to take place."

Seth inclined his head, accepting the plan.

"Are there any suggestions?"

"What about his Companion?"

Atemu blinked and looked at Jono, surprised that the former slave had spoken up so readily. The others exchanged startled looks as well, their attention grabbed by the overlooked detail. Seth frowned, leaning forward in his seat.

"Jono has a point. We have no way of knowing how badly the Ring's Keeper is going to need his Companion. I do not like to bring up unpleasant memories, but we have no need of another Mahado."

Jono looked at Seth in confusion, but the saddened expressions of the others kept him from asking Seth to explain. Atemu closed his eyes, remembering his good friend, lost to the Shadows because they had not known about the need to provide the Priest's of the Millennium Items with a Light to keep them from becoming lost. He was comforted somewhat by the knowledge that Mahado had found his happiness in the Shadow Realm.

"You are right Seth. Perhaps the first thing we should do is to search out the Companion of our new Holder."

"It should be a simple matter for him to deal with, seeing as this is the Holder of the Ring we are talking about."

Atemu smirked, shaking his head at Maira's candid comment.

"Then we will have our new Holder's first lesson involve locating and attaining his Companion."

"Hmm." Seth's expression was considering, "Perhaps if we laid the condition that he cannot be inaugurated as a member of the Pharaoh's court until he has located and bonded with his Light, he might work just that much harder to find them. Then we will not have to worry about him being lost to the shadows."

"A good idea, Seth. I think we should do just that. Any objections?"

Taking one last look around the conference table, Atemu nodded and stood up, the others rising with him.

"Every well then, let us go meet our new Ring Holder, shall we my friends?"

With a chorus of agreement, the group left the council chamber to head for the more comfortable meeting room where the new Holder would be brought by the guards as soon as he arrived.

-

He woke up to the sound of unfamiliar voices. The situation was made doubly strange by the knowledge that he never slept where people could find him.

"Is he ever going to wake up? I want to find out who he is!"

"Patience, Yugi. Our friend has undergone a tremendous ordeal in linking to the Ring. It will take a little time for the sleep spell to wear off."

Sleep spell? He had been spelled? How had that happened? The last thing he remembered was breaking into that strange temple-tomb. The rest of his memories consisted of bright gold shadows. How odd. Perhaps he should open his eyes and get the voices to explain things so his poor muddled mind could make sense of it.

"Oh look, he's awake! And he has red eyes too, just like Atemu!"

Atemu? Isn't that the Pharaoh's name?

The muscular white haired man with a baffled expression who was sprawled across the reclined couch indeed had red eyes, which he blinked in confusion as he stared up at the slender boy. Yugi beamed cheerfully back at him.

"Hello, how are you feeling? Would you like something to drink?"

A drink sounded like a good idea. His mouth felt like it was full of sand, and hurt when he tried to swallow. Taking the cup a brown haired woman handed him, he drained the liquid inside quickly. It was only after the roughness in his throat had been soothed that he remembered that he should have been more wary of drugs or poisons. Too late for him to worry about them tampering with his drink now though.

"You think maybe he was thirsty?"

"Jono, please try to restrain yourself."

"Pfft. Relax Kalim, a little sarcasm won't hurt him any. I'm sure he's heard worse on the streets, I know I did."

"Still, you are not making the most favourable of first impressions on our new friend."

"Jono, Kalim, that's enough. Seth and Shada are bad enough, we don't need the two of you taking every opportunity to bicker as well."

"My apologies, Tea. I forgot myself."

"He started it."

"Jono!"

"What? He did!"

He did not know if this harmless display was an act for his benefit, but at least he knew what their names were now. Sitting up, he was able to get a better look at where he was while his hosts were occupied with their little argument. Why they would want to make a good impression on him of all people was a mystery best left for another time.

He was in someone's sitting room. A very rich someone if the opulent surroundings were any indication. There were four people in the room with him, the brown haired girl, the small boy with odd hair, a blond youth, and a young man with black hair. Each of the four wore a collar, but they lacked the distinctive stamp that marked slave collars. Even the Pharaoh's slaves wore the slave glyph around their necks, so who were these four? What were they?

His observations brought him only more questions. And he still did not know where he was.

"Hey!"

Four pairs of eyes turned to regard him as he spoke for the first time.

"Where am I?"

Jono snorted, dropping a hand to Yugi's shoulder to keep him quiet.

"How about you introduce yourself first, then we can answer your questions. Sound good?"

He eyed the golden-blond thoughtfully. The kid had a good head on his shoulders, trying to get information before giving it. He decided to humour the blond, not his fault if they did not like his answers.

"I'm Bakura. Now who are you?"

The blond blinked his eyes, which were gold, of all the impossible colours. He knew his own red eyes were odd, but this kid had eyes the same hue as sunlight on desert sands. Instead of fear though, the gold eyes just looked interested as the blond asked him another question.

"You mean the Thief King? Are you that Bakura?"

"Yes, I am."

Bakura gave them his most dangerous smile, the one that drew attention to his scars and demonic eyes. The reaction he received sorely disappointed him. Maybe he was losing his touch, because the four pretty faces just exchanged considering looks before the dark haired man spoke up.

"This could be the edge we need. A thief would probably be very useful."

"Hold up, what do you mean useful? You still haven't told me who you are or where I am."

Bakura scowled, wishing that the sluggishness the sleep spell had left on his limbs would fade more quickly. It was hard for him to move or think, though it was getting easier by the moment.

"Oh, sorry about that."

The little one with the purple eyes looked apologetic as he started the introductions, pointing out each one as he named them.

"I am Yugi, the Pharaoh Atemu's Light Soul Companion. This is Jono, Companion to the High Priest Sorcerer Seth. Priest Kalim is High Priest Shada's Companion. Tea is a Healer, and also Companion of the Guard Commander Priestess Maira. As for where you are, you are in the sitting room of your chambers here in the imperial palace."

"Geh?"

His chambers? As in, rooms inside the palace that belonged to Bakura? How in Anubis' name had that happened? And what the fuck was a Light Soul Companion anyway?

The door opened to admit another man, dressed in warriors garb, and obviously of high station. But this man too wore a collar, though his was nearly hidden by his clothing and armour.

"Hey Rashid, are the others coming?"

The tall man known as Rashid nodded, smiling at the blond.

"Yes Jono, they are on their way. I see that our new friend is awake."

Shrewd eyes glanced curiously at Bakura, an observant mind obviously at work behind the look of mild inquiry. Bakura careful blanked his face, not all that eager to be executed.

Wait, did I actually… Crap, I did. I gave the fluffy ones my real name. Here's hoping I don't end up dead because of a spell hangover. How can this day get any worse?

The door opened again and the Pharaoh Atemu walked into the room, followed by the others who held Millenium Items.

Oh, so that's how. I knew the Gods hated me, but I wasn't aware they were this upset. Perhaps disturbing the bodies when tomb robbing wasn't such a good idea after all.

Shock passed over several faces before it was quickly hidden, and the Pharaoh's voice was steady as he acknowledged the long-time threat to his rule.

"Bakura."

"So, it seems that the Thief King has at last come to grace the Pharaoh's noble halls."

Bakura sneered at the impassive faces presented by the Pharaoh and his Priests, gesturing expansively around the room from his seat.

"Tell me, Pharaoh! Do you truly intend to harbour a thief, a tomb robber, under your own roof? What would your father think?"

Keeping his face expressionless through sheer force of will, Atemu took a seat across from Bakura.

"My father would understand that the choice of the Millenium Items is beyond my control and if the Ring has chosen you to hold it, then you are the one who shall have it. The Seven Treasures are forces of Justice. They would not choose an evil soul to carry them."

Bakura threw his head back and laughed mockingly.

"Justice? You call what happened to my people just? Was the death of Kul Elna a part of your great justice? Or perhaps the lives of petty thieves are not worth the consideration of the great Pharaoh!"

Frowning, Seth tried to unobtrusively come between his cousin and the obviously unbalanced thief as he tried to get a clearer idea of what the madman was talking about.

"What do you mean by your people, thief? I have never heard of Kul Elna."

"No, you wouldn't have! After all, the village of Kul Elna was destroyed, its people slaughtered, in order to create those pretty baubles you claim deliver your beloved justice! You want to know why I plague you at every turn Pharaoh? You want to know why I defiled your worthless fathers tomb? Because I was a child! A child who watched his entire world slaughtered! My family cut down before my eyes! My entire life destroyed in an endless night of screams and blood and fire!"

There was a long period of silence broken only by Bakura's quick, angry breathing as the shocked group absorbed what Bakura had told them. Seth shook his head in dismay, so his father really had been that ambitious.

"I will talk to the thief alone. Leave us."

"But-"

Atemu stopped Yugi's protests by gently placing his fingertips against his light's lips, dredging up a faint smile of reassurance.

"Go."

"Very well."

As they walked down the hall to a different room, leaving Atemu alone in the other room with Bakura, Jono turned to Seth with a frown.

"So, since we're stuck waiting until they finish their little chat, how about you explain the whole thing with that Mahado guy you were talking about earlier. Why is it, exactly, that you all-" Jono waved both of his hands at everyone wearing an Item, "die without us?"

He then pointed at everyone wearing the collar of a Light Companion. Seth looked uncomfortable, and Yugi squirmed in his seat.

"It's a long story, pet."

Looking pointedly at the doorway, Jono then turned a wry look on Seth and spoke, his voice dry.

"I think we got time."

Seth exchanged an indecipherable look with Shada and Kalim before relenting to Jono's demand with a nod and a sigh.

"The Millennium Items were created using a ritual described in an ancient text called the Millennium Tome, passed down through the priesthood. When Atemu and I were very young, foreign armies crossed the borders into these lands in an attempt to take the Tome. His armies destroyed, Atemu's father used his last resort, the spell to create the Seven Treasures that had been deciphered by my father. My father left the palace with three magicians and an armed force. They returned seven days later, bearing the Millennium Items, which they then used to turn back the invading army and save Egypt."

Seth's eyes flickered briefly, as if in pain.

"But what you want to know about all started soon after the deaths of the first Priests to wield the Millennium Items. Deaths that included the demise of Atemu's father, the former Pharaoh Akhenamkhanen, as well as the old Pharaoh's younger brother, my father, the philosopher Akhenaden. With all those who had first held the Items dead, along with the conspirators who knew the truth of their making, the 'seven treasures' fell into new hands. As you know, Atemu took the Puzzle and I, the Rod. To Isisu went the Tauk, to augment her Seers ability. The Eye took to Maira shortly after she attained a command position. Shada was granted the Anhk-Key, chosen from among the priesthood. The Scales remain unclaimed to this day. As for the Ring, it went to a good, just man, loyal to the Pharaoh beyond question, a true priest named Mahado."

-

Back in the sitting room of Bakura's new Palace quarters, Atemu was still trying to reason with the thief.

"I am not my father, and I was not much older than an infant when the Items were created. You cannot justifiably hold the destruction of your village against me. There is nothing I can do to change the past, but I swear to you that I will never commit such acts. I will not repeat my father's mistakes."

"And I would rather rot in the desert for eternity than serve such a pathetic, hypocritical, sun-blinded, self-serving son of an addle-brained tyrant!"

Shrugging off Bakura's rant, Atemu wearily leaned back in his seat, waving one hand towards the unguarded doorway.

"I can see that nothing I say will do to convince you of my sincerity. Go then. You are free to leave as you wish. Do not worry about the guards they will not stop you. I suppose that it will be a simple enough matter to retrieve the Ring from your corpse later."

Not liking the sound of that, Bakura froze mid-threat, narrowing his eyes at the relaxed Pharaoh.

"What do you mean, 'from my corpse'? Are you planning on having your worthless Guard cut me down when I leave the grounds?"

"Nothing of the sort."

Regarding Bakura's tense, defensive body language, Atemu decided to be truthful with the thief in hopes that it would convince Bakura to trust them and stay of his own free will.

"The Millennium Items simply have a nasty habit of killing their wielders. I suppose it must have something to do with the way they were created. It was not until recently that we discovered a method of halting the destruction of mind and soul caused by the continuous contact with the Shadows via the link between the Items and those who hold them."

Examining the laid-back Pharaoh with narrowed eyes, Bakura snarled in frustration.

"You aren't going to tell me how unless I agree to stay."

The faintest of smiles flickered across Atemu's face.

"No. I am not."

Bakura cursed himself for telling the story of the destruction of Kul Elna so quickly. Had he retained that information instead of giving into his desire to shatter the Pharaoh's illusions about his precious father he would still have that information as a bargaining chip.

"What if I left the Ring here?"

Atemu shook his head in response.

"Even if you never laid eyes on the Ring again, and spent the rest of your life running far from it as possible, the link would remain. Once chosen, only death can break the connection between a Millennium Item and the one who possesses it."

For a long moment, Bakura was silent. Weighing the situation in his mind, he finally came to a decision.

"Very well. I will stay here for as long as it takes to master the Ring. In return, you will tell me how I am to survive being its wielder."

"In addition, you will swear on the Ring to never bring harm against an innocent, and that you will cease all actions against I and my court. You do not have to swear loyalty, just give your word to never plot or give aide in our destruction."

Giving the Pharaoh a considering look, - for how much worth was the word of a thief to a Pharaoh? - Bakura finally nodded his head.

"Very well."

Atemu was silent. Bakura made a disgusted noise.

"What, I actually have to say it?"

"If you would be so kind."

Heaving a resigned sigh, Bakura made a face and placed one hand on the Ring that had hung around his neck for the entire discussion.

"I, the Thief King Bakura, sole survivor of the Village of Thieves, Kul Elna, do hereby swear on the Millennium Ring that I shall never bring willing harm to an innocent, and never shall I plot or aide in the downfall of the pigheaded, twit Pharaoh Atemu and his court full of prancing priests."

Covering his mouth with his hand, Atemu tried and failed to hide his amusement at Bakura's sulky tone. Giving the mirthful Pharaoh a nasty look, Bakura lowered his hand.

"There I said it. Now-"

There was a bright flash of gold light, cutting off Bakura's demand before it could really begin. Blinking the spots for his vision, Bakura glared at the unfazed Pharaoh.

"Now you tell me what the fuck that light was about and then you can tell me how to stay not-dead."

Coughing slightly, Atemu attempted to wipe the smirk off his face.

"The light was a sign of the pact being sealed."

"Pact?"

Bakura's voice held a strangled quality, and Atemu finally gave up on hiding his smirk.

"Yes, pact. I made you swear on the Ring for a reason. It sealed your words to your actions for as long as the link remains between you and the Ring. I suppose that it is fitting, the last survivor of Kul Elna having the Ring. Its powers should suit you well."

Pausing for a moment to let that sink in, Atemu serenely continued to speak as Bakura sputtered at being tricked.

"As for remaining alive, you simply have to locate, acquire, and bond to your Light."

Glowering at the smug Pharaoh, Bakura found his voice again.

"What the fuck does a light have to do with it? Do I need to start carrying torches with me everywhere now? Or is someone else assigned that job?"

Rubbing his head in aggravation, Atemu attempted to explain.

"The Items are, as well you know, creations of darkness and blood. To possess one is to walk forever in shadow. To balance this, each person who holds a Millennium Item needs a balance, a light to keep the shadows from consuming them. You know of Mahado, the man who commanded the guardians who protected the tombs of the former Pharaohs."

Smirking, Bakura sprawled back into his seat and crossed his arms.

"We've met a few times. I was surprised to hear he died, he was a tough bastard."

Atemu sighed.

"He was also the first of us to take on a Millenium Item when its first bearer died."

For the first time, Bakura looked like he was taking an interest in Atemu's words.

"Which one did he get?"

"The Ring."

Silenced, his smirk gone, Bakura could only listen as the Pharaoh kept to his tale.

"It destroyed him. The bindings that held his soul to his body were dissolved by shadow, and he was lost to the living world. Mahado had sworn to serve me beyond death, and was determined to keep his word. He bound his heka, his ba and his ka, his soul and all his magic, forever to my service. Had he not done so, his soul would have been ripped apart and swallowed by darkness."

Flicking a single card around to face Bakura, the Pharaoh spoke the name quietly.

"The Magus of Illusion, my eternal servant, my loyal friend."

His fingers lingered over the painted face of the card before abruptly returning it to his deck. Atemu cleared his throat and continued.

"It was Isisu who discovered the way to keep us alive. When she first took the Tauk, she had a vision of a man. This man glowed with a brilliant light, such that it rivalled Ra's brightest rays. Endlessly she sought him, convinced that he knew answers she needed. When she found him, he was in command of the Tomb Keepers."

"Let me guess," Bakura interrupted, "they fell in love at first sight."

"Not quite, but close. They were married, and it soon became apparent that Isisu was not suffering from the approaching shadows. She was unable to scry the futures of those with the Millennium Items, but she could look into Rashid's future, which is how she found him in the first place. Shada used the Ankh-Key to examine Rashid's soul, and found it full of light. There was also a link between his soul and Isisu's. This link between them warded Isisuagainst being devoured by the Shadows."

Here, Atemu paused and shrugged dismissively.

"The details are not really important, but I discovered that my childhood playmate Yugi was one such Light soul. He became my companion in more ways than one soon afterwards. Maira and Tea were already involved when the Eye chose Maira, so it was no surprise when they committed to the bond. Shada searched Kalim out from among the priesthood. Seth found his light Jono only very recently."

"So tell me, Pharaoh. If the Items are so destructive to ones self, how has your pet Sorcerer-Priest lasted so long?"

Wincing, Atemu silently cursed his agreement to answer Bakura's questions in return for the promise the thief had made.

"Do you recall the rumours about Seth attempting to take my throne from me?"

Bakura's eyes gleamed in sadistic pleasure.

"Oh, yes. What about them?"

"They were not truly rumours. Seth very nearly lost himself to the shadows at that time. Fortunately, I was able to shock him out of it and get him back here. His younger brother has acted as a substitute Light for Seth, though the sibling bond is not as effective as a love bond in this instance. Something about the nature of their interaction I suppose."

Laughing uproariously over the thought of the High Priest attempting to usurp the Pharaoh's throne, Bakura did not pay much attention to the last few sentences. Atemu waited for Bakura to calm down.

"Are you quite finished?"

"H-heheheh. For now. Please, do continue, Pharaoh."

Wishing for the freedom to strangle Bakura without guilt, Atemu decided to finish their conversation quickly.

"You need to find your Light, Bakura. Only then can you truly begin to master the full power of the Millennium Ring."

"Wonderful. I have to find the one person in the world who will keep me from total destruction. How the hell am I supposed to do that, dear Pharaoh?"

The sarcasm was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Atemu prayed fervently that his talk with Bakura would end soon so he could push the thief off on Seth and go take a nap. Bakura was a trial on the nerves.

"How do you think, thief?"

The look Atemu gave Bakura spoke volumes.

"You will use the Ring, of course."

Tsuzuku…

-

E/N:

Plots, plots, and more plots. Look it them suckers go.

All right, does anyone feel up to helping the poor author out? I have 'Past Life' names for a lot of the characters, but there are some I could use some help with. I don't have Ancient Egyptian names for Yugi, Ryou, Rashid, Ootogi Ryugi, Honda, Mokuba, or Shizuka (Jou's little sister). If you've got a suggestion, let me know, ok? Good!

So did everyone have fun? Excited to finally see something new from me? Looking forward to the next chapter? Trying to figure out where I live so you can force me to write something else in less than a year?

Yeah, I though as much, please put the lynching tools away.

You know where the review box-button thinger is. Click it. Tell me what you're thinking. I promise not to be offended.

-

Finished: 2006-03-10

Revised:

Betaed: