A/N: I'm BS-ing my way through some Ancient Egyptian religious references. Also pretending that fleas can live on dead things. Bad Pachelbel, I know.
Yami Yugi Moves Out!
Midterms are coming. I wanted to grade the mummified cats but turns out, am not allowed to use dead animals in class unless I have a degree in zoology. Or some kind of -ology…can't remember which one, but "zoo" means animals, so it's close enough.
I was going to argue and try to get my way at the staff meeting but it brought up the point that I'm teaching and don't even have a degree in Egyptology, so I let the subject go. Was safer for me, really. Job security and all that.
But that left me with a problem. Students had already sent their projects home with me, and I couldn't keep them in the apartment. Not enough room in my bedroom for 42 wrapped up cat bodies, and Edith screamed when I tried to put them in the front room. Said something about a 'fire hazard' and 'eviction'. 'Bad omen', also, but I scoffed too much to hear the rest of that sentence.
Still, it was clear the cats couldn't start their journey through the afterworld at my apartment. So I did what any normal man would do. I took them to Yugi's.
Am sitting on Yugi's couch now, actually. All the cats are piled up on the coffee table.
Sitting there with the scent of card ink, burnt carpet, cooking tofu, resin and linen around me, I realized that I have really missed Yugi. Also dinner with Yugi. And talking to Yugi. And dueling with Yugi. And having Grandpa cheer for me and Yugi.
…Have not missed Grandpa's cookies though. Yuck. Still have the same flavor as the Duel Monsters booster packs he sells.
I had already called Yugi and asked him to come to the shop, but when Grandpa saw the coffee table he dashed back to the phone and "reminded" Yugi to hurry home.
Few minutes later, Yugi walked in. Well, sort of. He was dragging two backpacks and both were half his height and twice his weight…. Decided to help him instead of sit around watching. After a while.
Problem is, am almost the same size as Yugi, and didn't have much better luck with getting the packs over the stairs. Was considering signing up for weight lifting class at work, but then decided to just use Shadow Magic to make the stairs turn into an escalator-shaped monster.
Even gravity is no match for a Pharaoh. …Except in Memory World where there are cliffs and crazy thief "kings", but let's not go into that.
Yugi took the pile on the table much better than Grandpa or Edith.
"…What is that?"
"Midterm project for my classes, but we're not allowed to use animals because I'm teaching the wrong –ology."
A few blinks. "Oh…what are you going to do with those things?"
"I don't suppose people get buried with cats anymore."
Yugi smiled a little, the way he does when he gets what I'm saying but isn't sure why he does. "No."
"Then I guess I'll just have to find something else."
"Well…" Yugi frowned at the pile, then shook his head. "Mm. No…no."
"What?" He didn't look like he was going to answer. Time to break out the heavy-duty weapon. "Aibou?"
Yugi shuffled a foot. Ahah. Direct hit. "I was just thinking, some of them look like statues. And there's a modern-art furniture store that would probably take some of these. Like that one, since it doesn't look like a cat."
We both paused to stare at the grotesque little figure. It had six legs. If I hadn't known better I'd have unwrapped it to find out how it grew two extra legs after it died.
But back to Yugi's idea. "That's brilliant!"
"…But, I don't know…you'd be selling mummies to a furniture store. Isn't that bad?"
Well, when he put it that way…. "I'd get money? They'd pay me?"
Secret real name. Uh-oh. That's when a sliver of reason hit me. What was I saying? They'd make really ugly furniture anyway. "…You're right."
"That's…that's…that's like when Joey said we should find your mummy and sell it to the museum!"
Then Yugi was just staring at me in wide-eyed "oops didn't mean to let that slip" horror, and I was flipping through my mental list of non-fatal torture procedures, and then it sank in that this was how those cats must feel. Only less betrayed because I wasn't their best dueling buddy. Plus they're cats and kind of loners, and in this day and age are used to being kicked around everywhere they turned.
(Note to self: must buy a cat and treat it properly. Make Edith and Yugi bow to it also. This will be difficult since, as I've said, I don't deal well with cats…can't even deal with Bobby.)
"Look, he didn't really mean it disrespectfully…. And when I told him not everyone wants to be displayed after they're dead" –Joey wants to be cast in bronze after he 'kicks the bucket'— "he felt really bad about what he'd said."
Suppose I can be his friend again, in that case. I nodded to Yugi and frowned back at the cats. "Well, perhaps there is something we can do with them."
So ten minutes later, there we were at the Ishtars' house. I was glad to see that Isis answered the door, since she still respects me.
I didn't wait for any introductions before I went into my speech. "Isis Ishtar, I call upon the clan of the gravekeepers. I am in desperate need of your irreplaceable service."
Isis is very good at looking stunned and honored and completely in control at the same time. Is eery; must learn this trick from her.
Rishid was vacuuming and ignored me.
Malik just looked suspicious.
When none of them said anything, and Isis nodded her acceptance, I said, "Your mission is this: you are to guard the pile—er, the trunk of novicely-mummified cats until the moon turns green and spins backwards."
Even Rishid stopped moving, so the vacuum just sat there whining. The Ishtars were silent.
Malik finally stood up. "When's the last time you t—"
"Of course." Isis clapped a hand over his mouth. "We accept the mission, Pharaoh." Then she turned to Malik and whispered in his ear. He snickered and walked away.
Felt vaguely insulted without knowing why, so didn't feel the least bit bad about dropping off the cats.
"I think they think you're crazy, Yami." Yugi said as we drove back to his place.
"What makes you say that?"
I never did get an answer out of him. Was going to hound him for answers again but he gave me a new pack of cards to sort out and is now asleep. Must dig answers out of him at a more convenient time, i.e. when he's not expecting it. Like when he's in the shower.
Everyone who's come to mine and Edith's apartment is itchy.
Turns out we have fleas. Yes. Fleas.
Edith tried to blame it on my mummy-cat projects, but then I pointed out that Yugi and Grandpa and the Ishtars hadn't got fleas, so it couldn't have been. Argued for a while and made a truce over prune juice. Hah. The Truce of Prune Juice. Ehh….
Anyway, we agreed to split the cost of an exterminator (had to have her explain the difference between an Exterminator and a Terminator, thanks to Joey's repeated attempts to make me enjoy 'cultural movies' about robots.) But while the house is being exterminated, will have to live elsewhere.
Thought about going back to Grandpa's, but will have lots of work to do and camel can't make the trip between the Game Shop and school fast enough. Luck was on my side at work though, in the form of an ad. I have much luck with magazines and advertisements.
Temporary Dorm Monitor needed! Experience helpful but will take anyone!
Call Jean at….
So I whipped out my cell and called Jean right on the spot. He wasn't sure he wanted a professor to be in charge of his dorm, but I went into Son of Ra mode and he caved like quicksand.
With that out of the way, now I had to deal with my class. We had to get midterms out of the way, so I assigned them twelve-page essays on which Dynasty we'd talked about would have stood the most chance of success when pitted against another. Then dismissed the classes for the day.
Decided not to take any clothes from the itchy apartment, since they were probably crawling with vermin (even my work tuxedo wasn't safe), and stopped off at Yugi's dorm. Was a two-hour camel ride, by the way. Am rethinking this mode of transportation. Would probably get around faster if I saddled up the Celtic Guardian instead….
Was surprised to find Yugi in his dorm studying. With some kind of loud music playing, too, but he was still there in the dorm studying.
As usual, though, he noticed me before I got three feet in the room. Much too soon for me to startle him like I used to. "Hey, Yami! What are you doing here?"
I sighed. "I need a flea bath and some changes of clothes, Yugi. I'll be staying in a dorm room for a few nights while my apartment is terminated. Er, exterminated."
"Fleas?" A wash of horror over the boy's face as he pressed himself back against his desk.
"Yes. We don't know from what, but it shall be taken care of shortly. I've been able to keep the fleas from staying on my skin, but they hide in my clothing and attack when I don't watch them. I don't know what they intend to do with me—they can't be getting much nutrition from me—but whatever they're planning, they're a nuisance."
Yugi kept staring at me for a minute. Then he pointed at the hall. "Maybe you should take that bath before you get into my clothes. It's straight down the hall. I'll take you some clothes in a few minutes so you can change, ok?"
Soaked in my tuxedo for a while, until I was sure the fleas were drowned in the specialized flea-killing bath. Then I climbed out and, just like Yugi had promised, there was a pair of leather pants and our favorite sleeveless-strait jacket shirt. Has been much, much too long since I wore leather and bondage. Am sexy and must flaunt it more often.
Now am ready to head to my dorm.
Bobby is a big success with the zoology students. Have sent him to live with them while we're staying here. Can breathe easy for the first time in months.
Can even use temporary closet space for something other than a death trap. Celebrated absence of scorpions by putting all my clothes away where they belong.
Life is good.