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See here for notes on this fanfic. Today (12/31/2012) is the two-year-anniversary of finishing RE:Play! It seemed a shame to miss it. I'll probably have to go back and edit a bit more later. Happy new year!

RE:Play


[5/29/2009 - 12/31/2010]

II. RE:Turn
(First part of RE:Turn.)

When they returned to the palace, Atem was immediately beset by Siamun and other priests, each armed with an angry protest. Yuugi had to fight down a feeling of disorientation at the sight of the wizened advisor, who looked and sounded exactly like his grandfather. Then, he noticed the priest who hadn’t joined the others protesting how could Atem endanger himself like that, going out with so few escorts, and berating Mahaad and Isis for letting it happen in the first place. Actually, if Yuugi hadn’t been distracted by Siamun, the lone priest would have been impossible to miss with the bright blue robe and headdress adorned with winged cobra, which made him look even taller than his already imposing height.

The Kaiba look-alike, Seth, looked preoccupied with some thought, and had barely spared a glance when Atem returned. As if feeling Yuugi’s gaze on him, Seth raised his eyes, and looked straight back at Yuugi.

Then, the blue eyes widened.

“Yuugi?”

His voice was barely above a whisper, but Yuugi heard as clearly as if it had been shouted.

“Kaiba-kun?!”

Atem paused, head snapping to stare at “Seth” in shock. It was Seth, but not quite; for one, Seth was a stickler for decorum, at least in the public eyes, and would not have returned his gaze with such a direct, challenging stare. (In private or in the exclusive company of the priests was quite another matter.) He quirked an eyebrow at him in question, only to receive a narrow-eyed glare in return, and chuckled under his breath. Whatever power had brought both Yuugi and him back to the past seemed to have twisted yet another thread into their fate. Kaiba Seto wasn’t exactly on top of the list of people Atem wanted to be stranded in the past with, had he the choice. Still, their fates had crossed before. Perhaps Kaiba also had a part to play in all this.

“Seth, escort Yuugi to my room. I will join both of you shortly.” His voice wasn’t loud, but cut through the tumult of voices easily. For one moment, no one spoke, and Kaiba – it was unmistakably Kaiba under the priestly robe and headdress; that incredulous, you-are-so-not-shitting-me glare couldn’t belong to anyone else but the CEO of Kaiba Corp – looked at him with an eloquently speaking look. Atem could feel Mahaad’s surprised glance, but did not break his gaze away from Kaiba. Then, Yuugi stepped next to Kaiba, and touched his elbow briefly, drawing both their attention.

“Shall we?” Yuugi asked softly, with a brief smile in Kaiba’s direction, and Kaiba acquiesced with one last look at Atem, letting Yuugi lead them away. Left behind, Atem watched the pair go, then turned, only to find six pairs of eyes pinned on him.

Belatedly, Atem wondered about the wisdom of not making his escape with the other two.

~*~*~*~


“Um, Kaiba-kun, do you know which way it is?” Yuugi asked once they were out of the earshot of the palace attendants. Kaiba gave him an unimpressed look, which Yuugi answered with a bright smile, and Kaiba sighed.

“If I don’t try to think, yes.”

Yuugi blinked at him. “Should I ask?”

“...Now I know for sure I’m not dreaming. How did you get here, anyway?” For some reason, Kaiba looked rather tired. Both his hands were curled into loose fists, Millennium Rod left tucked in his belt.

“You remember, after my duel with Atem, the door opened and gave out a burst of light?” Kaiba made a dismissive noise, which Yuugi took as a yes. “When it faded, I found myself in this place. I think in the harems, actually. I’m pretty sure the lady I met was the queen.”

“Meritatem?” It was probably surprise, Yuugi decided, that colored Kaiba’s inflection now. “How did you get out of that one? Only the pharaoh is allowed to enter the harem.”

How did Kaiba know the queen’s name? “Um, I didn’t catch her name, actually. And Atem showed up right after.”

Kaiba did raise an eyebrow at that. “How convenient,” he drawled dryly. “And you’ve been here since—?”

“Yesterday afternoon,” Yuugi said promptly.

Kaiba’s mouth twitched once. “Interesting. About the same time, then.”

“And Atem, too,” Yuugi added, catching on. “So all three of us were brought here at the same time. Have you run into anyone else?”

“Was it Ishizu who was with you before?” Kaiba asked in lieu of an answer, and Yuugi shook his head. “And that wasn’t your grandfather, either.” Another shake. “Then, no.”

“Where have you been? If we’d know you were here, we’d have taken you with us.” It would have been reassuring, Yuugi admitted privately, to have Kaiba and the Blue-Eyes White Dragon to back them up while they were at the haunted village.

“What, touring the Valley of the Kings?” Kaiba’s tone made it clear had they asked, he’d have refused anyway.

Oh, right. Atem hadn’t revealed their true destination, and had forbidden their escorts from speaking about the trip. “Kur-Elna, actually. The Temple of the Underworld is there. Kind of.”

“I assume you were trying to reopen the gate to the Underworld.” It wasn’t a question. “It didn’t work, then.”

Yuugi winced. “We ran into a problem. Do you remember, when we visited the temple, the gate to the Underworld had the Eye and inscriptions explaining how to open it?”

“What about it?”

“Well, that gate doesn’t exist yet. Atem said the temple was destroyed when Zorc revived, and that it was probably rebuilt after Zorc was sealed.”

“...And I suppose the stone tablet doesn’t exist yet, either.”

“If you mean the one with Priest Seth and Atem on it, then no. Priest Seth didn’t make that until after Atem was sealed.” Yuugi was careful not to say “you,” in case Kaiba either didn’t know or didn’t care for the idea of Seth being his previous incarnation. Although he was seriously beginning to doubt the former. “Where were you last night?” And how much do you know about all this, Yuugi wanted to ask, but held his tongue. Kaiba never responded well to being pressed.

“With Priest Akhenaden. There was a special ceremony in the temple of Set last night.”

If no one had noticed anything was amiss during the ceremony, then there was more to this than just Kaiba being here. For one, Kaiba didn’t look like Kaiba, but Seth. “You are still Kaiba-kun, right?” Yuugi asked softly. They had walked all the way to the pharaoh’s chamber. Yuugi flashed a brief smile at the attendants, who bowed to them and left the room. “Kaiba-kun, please. I don’t think we want to be stuck here, and we’ll need to work together if we want to go back.”

“I can access Seth’s memories.” Yuugi suspected a lot of thought had gone into that simple, clinical statement. “When I first found myself here, I thought I might be dreaming. It wasn’t until I saw you that I was sure this is real.”

Yuugi was impressed. For someone who found himself in the body of his past incarnation with sudden, full access to his past memories, Kaiba sounded remarkably composed. “Then, you’re in Seth’s body, and Atem is in his old body. And I’m here body and soul?”

Kaiba gave a small, one-shouldered shrug, looking around the pharaoh’s chamber. “Maybe you have no past equivalent here.”

Yuugi smiled at Kaiba’s choice of word. “Just three of us, though?”

“You and Atem were the ones who went through the battle ceremony.” Kaiba skipped the part he hadn’t been a participant, yet was pulled in nonetheless. “Ishizu and your grandfather were right there, too, but they weren’t affected. Siamun is Siamun, and Isis is Isis.”

The way Kaiba pronounced Atem’s name was...familiar. Almost as if he’d called Atem by that name and not “Yuugi” all his life. Yuugi wondered if ‘having access to Seth’s memories’ was all that was going on with Kaiba. “So how does it work? Atem’s soul regained his memories before this happened, so I can understand that. But you have both the body and the memories of Seth?”

Kaiba didn’t answer right away. “When I don’t think, the memories are easier to see,” he said in an inflectionless voice. “They come when I need them.”

“Other Me said something similar before.”

Kaiba pinned him with a narrow blue stare. “Did the Other Yuugi figure out what the hell happened?”

“Not...really. We didn’t find a lot in the Temple of the Underworld. We think the battle ceremony might not have been complete. Or we could have done it wrong. It’s a possibility.” Not one that Atem accepted, but worth mentioning anyway, Yuugi reasoned.

“Then why am I mixed up in your screw-up?” The cool glint in Kaiba’s eyes made him swallow. “You’re the one who wanted to face him in the ceremonial battle.”

What had he expected? For Kaiba to act like his friend? Even if his involvement with Atem had changed him, Kaiba was never kind. Kaiba wasn’t Jounouchi, Anzu, or Honda. Or Ryou or Otogi. Why was Kaiba here? Did he have some part left to play? Granted, in some ways, Kaiba had had the greatest amount of influence in Atem’s life, both in the past and the future. But a small, selfish part of Yuugi had wanted this experience to remain something special just for himself and Atem.

“Maybe you should ask him to duel you, then. Maybe that will do it.” Yuugi hadn’t meant to sound so flat, and turned to pick up his duel disk, hiding his expression. Kaiba watched him in silence for a moment.

“I don’t have my deck. Or a duel disk, for that matter. I assume he doesn’t, either.” His voice wasn’t exactly softer, but it was less cutting. “It’s not like there was anything wrong with your duel. What exactly did you find out?”

Yuugi turned surprised eyes at him. Kaiba met his gaze evenly, but for once it was a neutral expression gracing his features. “Without the actual inscription there, not much. Malik said the inscription in the future mentioned a ceremony of battle, and that the king’s soul cannot start his journey holding a sword.”

“There was more.” Kaiba was frowning, but not at him. “Something about being unable to leave until he is at peace.”

“We thought it means he had to lose a duel. Since for us duelist, our cards are our ‘swords,’ right? And you can’t be at peace until you drop the sword. But Isis pointed out you could drop your sword either by defeat or surrender.”

“There’s a difference?”

To someone like Kaiba, there likely wasn’t, Yuugi mused with a smile. “Surrender is acceptance of defeat. Defeat doesn’t necessarily mean you accept losing.”

“He didn’t accept losing to you?” Kaiba’s tone made it clear what he thought about this take. “No, it has to be something else.”

“So I suggested maybe we didn’t actually complete the ritual.” Recalling Seth’s stone tablet, the earlier idea gained a new life, and Yuugi looked at him intently. “Maybe you should try dueling the Other Me. Maybe it really is that the two of you have to perform the ritual. It’s worth a try.”

To Yuugi’s great surprise, Kaiba actually looked uncomfortable. “I’m not sure what the result would be. The duel in this time and place -- it’s different.”

“Other than the Monsters being real?” Yuugi kept his voice gentle. It wasn’t in Kaiba’s nature to admit even the possibility of a failure.

“Blue-Eyes doesn’t exist in this world yet.” If Yuugi hadn’t been listening carefully, he would have missed the touch of reluctance in Kaiba’s words. Yuugi nodded; after all, Black Magician as they knew didn’t exist yet, either. Given the discussion he’d had with Atem the night before, he could guess when the Blue-Eyes would make its appearance. And they definitely wouldn’t want to be around by then.

“And I guess waiting until it does would be a really bad idea.”

Kaiba didn’t quite smile. “Yes.”

“May I cut in?” a dry voice asked from the door, and two of them looked up to see Atem enter, looking a bit worse for wear.

“Siamun let you off that easy?” The razor edge was back in Kaiba’s voice, but it wasn’t from rancor, Yuugi thought. And the impatient glare Atem sent in his direction had a habitual feel to it. For a second, Yuugi felt another moment of déjà vu, like the two of them had this kind of exchange hundreds of times before.

“I was told Yuugi needs me urgently,” Atem replied archly.

Yuugi blinked at him. “I do?”

“According to Isis. Naturally, I had to come and make sure you were safe.”

Kaiba snorted. “Isis is getting soft,” he said with a good measure of disdain.

Atem gave him a smile sharp enough to cut, then pointedly turned to face Yuugi. “Anyone else stranded here I should know about?”

“Not that we know of,” Yuugi answered. Not that Atem and Kaiba had gotten along before, exactly, but their dynamics here had an additional twist of...mutual sarcasm? Yuugi had gathered from his conversation with Atem that he and Seth had known each other for a long time. It was disorienting. Before, when Atem was simply the Other Yuugi, Mai had once or twice muttered something about the chemistry between the Other Yuugi and Kaiba that he didn’t think she’d meant for him to hear. At the time, the Other Yuugi had been outraged at the very insinuation, though Yuugi had secretly agreed with Mai’s assessment. And now, looking at them side by side, he had to admit: there really was a lot of chemistry between them, even outside a dueling arena.

“How long have you guys known each other, anyway?” Yuugi asked innocently.

“Seven years,” Atem answered promptly, then paused. “Aibou...” he said, beginnings of exasperation audible in his voice. Yuugi grinned at him, unrepentant. “...You do realize he’s still Kaiba under the skin, right?”

“Ha!” Kaiba whirled, his cape swishing behind him in a dramatic way his coat could never accomplish. With measured steps he stalked to the balcony, ignoring both of them. Behind him, Yuugi’s smile faltered. It was Kaiba under the priest’s robe, headdress and the gold jewelry. But for a moment there, while he and Atem were bantering – almost like old friends but for the antagonism bordering on hostility – Yuugi thought he’d glimpsed at something more than the usual Kaiba.

“Did you tell him about—?” Atem gestured vaguely, and Yuugi suppressed a sigh. Back to business, then.

“Yeah. Also, Kaiba-kun and I compared notes, and I think the full inscription was more in the line of: ‘The king’s soul cannot start the journey holding a sword; he is not allowed to leave until he is at peace,’ or something to that effect.” There was no actual difference between the words Yuugi and Atem remembered from what Kaiba added, except in the way they were phrased. He knew Atem recalled as much, but like Yuugi, Atem had originally assumed that the second clause was simply the clarification for the first rather than a separate stipulation.

“You’re still thinking the second part is a separate requirement,” Atem surmised, eyes turning thoughtful. “It’s a possibility. If dropping the sword isn’t enough for me to be at peace...”

“Whichever it is, we didn’t fulfill the condition – that’s what I think. And somehow fulfilling the condition involves Kaiba-kun, too.”

Atem frowned at that. “You mean, my opponent had to be Kaiba? Is that what you’re thinking?” Yuugi did not answer. There were hints of agitation in Atem’s movement while he shrugged out of the cloak and unclasped the golden collar. “Kaiba and I had our duel already. Twice. I don’t think that’s the reason.”

“For once, I agree,” Kaiba said from the balcony with exasperation. “Why don’t you try dueling him again? Maybe second time’s the charm.” His silky tone was laden with mocking amusement. “Unless you’re afraid the first time was a fluke, of course.”

“Kaiba,” Atem growled in a clear warning. Kaiba spun on his heel, eyes narrowed and glittering, daring him to continue. A discreet touch on Atem’s lower back drained some of the tension. However, Kaiba’s eyes only turned colder, looking down his perfect nose with familiar hauteur. Yuugi watched him with worry; it was increasingly obvious being stuck in Seth’s body bothered Kaiba a lot more than he let on.

“I don’t care to be involved in this failed exercise of yours. You’re the one who is overdue for moving on. Why don’t you hurry up and do that so I can stop wasting my time here?”

Atem’s eyes turned equally cold, matching the intensity of Kaiba’s glare. “It would serve you right if we’d never found you here and left you behind.” Atem took a step toward Kaiba, shrugging off Yuugi’s hand in the same movement. “Stop thinking about yourself for a change, and use your brain, Kaiba. You’re here for a reason. Unless we work together—”

Yuugi winced at the way the sneer snapped back on Kaiba’s face even before the words came. “Spare me. Don’t think for a moment we’re in this together. I’m not the one who botched the battle ceremony, remember?”

“You dare—” Atem’s voice shook, and Yuugi swallowed, feeling the magic build inside Atem like a roiling sandstorm, gathering strength. Unsurprisingly, there was another, similar rise of magic on the balcony, a gathering of thunderclouds with Kaiba at its center. Challenge crackled in the air, and Yuugi bit his lip; as a rule, he stayed out of the confrontations between the Other Yuugi and Kaiba. But if they let loose their magic here, with two Millennium Items acting as their foci...

“Sealing Swords of Light!”

The words had desired effect. Their concentration broken, both Atem and Kaiba turned to Yuugi in surprise, bodies automatically braced for the unleashed magic of the spell card.

Which never came. Yuugi held up an empty hand. For a moment, no one spoke.

“Aibou, what—”

“What the hell do you think you’re pulling—”

“I think,” Yuugi interrupted loudly, then continued more softly. “I think you are both forgetting something. It doesn’t matter whose fault this is, or how or why we’re here. What matters is right now we’re trapped here, we don’t know how to get out, and there’s going to be a war here soon. And it’s pretty clear this isn’t the Memory World or a game.” He paused, partly for effect and partly for breath. “Every moment we stay here, we are changing the past. We don’t even know how much of the past we’ve already changed just by coming here. How much will continue to change.” Yuugi’s voice faltered, but did not break. “And, most importantly, we have no idea how this will affect our own time. If our world will even be the same when we manage to go back.”

He had both Atem and Kaiba’s undivided attention now. But even as he was speaking, his own words unearthed the fears he’d kept tightly suppressed, and Yuugi fought down a sliver of panic. After taking a deep breath, he added, in a quieter tone, “We are in this together, whether we like or not. We can either work together and figure out a way, or keep fighting and lose both our past and future.”

Without another word, Yuugi walked out of the room, fighting to keep his pace slow until he was outside. Then, he broke into a run.

Atem couldn’t stay with him in the future because Atem had been dead for 3,000 years by then. He couldn’t stay here with the Atem in the past because there was a war coming that would take Atem from him soon. Even when they met again in the future, they would still be parted in the end. Why were they here? Why now?

“Ah—”

Yuugi barely had the time to look up before he crashed headfirst into someone, knocking both of them to the floor in a tangled heap.

“Ow...” a feminine voice moaned, and Yuugi flushed, realizing just what was cushioning his head like a warm, soft pillow. “Pharaoh?”

He was blushing hotly. Most of the palace had heard about him by now, but occasionally, people still mistook him for Atem, usually from the back. His hand, to his utter mortification, was still braced on a firm thigh. Oh God, he was going to die from embarrassment, if the lady didn’t kill him first when she realized her mistake. He snatched his hand away as if burned, flushing madly again when that made him do another nosedive into the generous cleavage. Hastily, he untangled himself. Maybe if he was fast, he could get away before the lady noticed he wasn’t Atem.

“I’m really sorry!” he exclaimed, helping the lady to her feet and studiously not meeting her eyes. From his angle, all he could see was a hand, decked in several rings and attached to a slim wrist adorned with beautiful beaded bracelet, gingerly rubbing the ample, er, bosom. “Excuse me,” he mumbled, and took off down the corridor.

Or tried to. The lady’s free hand had shot out to grasp his shoulder lightly before he could flee. “There is nothing to apologize for, my king. I’m perfectly fine, see?” Her voice was laughing and musical, and strangely familiar, now that Yuugi was listening to it.

Yuugi’s eyes rose without his volition, mouth slack with shock. “A-Anzu!”

Anzu’s eyes narrowed after she had a good look at him. “You’re not the king. Who are you?”

A tanned Anzu. Scratch that, not even a trip to the town’s most expensive tanning salon (which Anzu would never waste her money on; Anzu was, all in all, a practical and sensible soul) could afford her that bewitching olive complexion. Yuugi gaped some more, finally noticing the way semi-transparent linen dress clung to her supple curves. A stunning collar of lapis lazuli beads adorned her throat and shoulder, offsetting her cropped brown hair and her wide blue eyes, lined with kohl and framed with curling eyelashes. As much as Yuugi privately admitted deep appreciation for Anzu in her short uniform skirt, even she had nothing on this Anzu. This Anzu was more than pretty. This Anzu was beautiful, was sexy and knew it. And knew how to flaunt it. This Anzu was...looking increasingly pissed off.

“Um,” was the most intelligent response that came to Yuugi’s flustered mind. “Anzu” scowled at him, dainty mouth pressed in a haughty line.

“Who are you?” She demanded. “This is no place for children.”

The condescension in her tone cut. In all the years they’d been friends, Anzu had never spoken to him in that tone, like he was something below her notice and it irritated her to be forced to speak to him at all. Definitely not his Anzu. Just a look-alike, despite the uncanny similarity in appearance and voice. Yet...until now, all of the people who looked like someone from Yuugi’s time had been similar to their future counterparts not just in appearance but in personality. Isis was so like Ishizu, there was almost nothing to set them apart except maybe the clothing. Isis exuded the same calm, gentle, yet steadfast presence that Ishizu had. The short glimpses he’d had of Siamun had been enough to highlight how Siamun even had the same mannerism that his grandpa did. Why was this Anzu so different?

“Yuugi? Lady Anenut?”

Saved! It was Isis, with another woman in tow. Isis’s dark eyes slid over Anzu – Anenut, Yuugi corrected himself – to Yuugi, and her expression turned mildly surprised. “What are you doing here, Yuugi? I thought you were with the pharaoh.”

Anenut turned surprised eyes to Yuugi, and Yuugi fidgeted, uncomfortable under the gaze that was so like yet unlike his Anzu. Isis took pity on him, and nodded to her companion, who bowed to her and left. “Are you here for a visit, Lady Anenut?” Isis asked politely, and Anenut graced her with a smile and a nod.

“Yes. To the chapel of the Two Ladies.”

An inscrutable look clouded Isis’s eyes, but her expression didn’t change. “You are a distant relation to the royal family, Lady Anenut, but not a consecrated priestess. Even for a lady such as yourself, entering the temples is...”

The smile Anenut gave her this time was distinctly feline. If she let her lips curl away from her teeth, Yuugi was sure he would have seen razor-sharp incisors. “The pharaoh has never forbidden me, Priestess Isis. But please, grant me the courtesy of introducing us.”

Isis held her gaze for a moment longer, then nodded. “Yuugi, this is Lady Anenut. She is descended from the pharaoh’s great-grandfather, King Kamose. Lady Anenut, meet Lord Yuugi, an envoy from the gods, and an honored companion to the pharaoh.”

Anenut’s eyes, which widened briefly, lowered demurely as she bowed deeply. “Please pardon my earlier insolence, Lord Yuugi. I was surprised and embarrassed, and spoke rashly.”

“Ah, no, it’s okay...” Anenut was eyeing him like a vulture eyeing a potential prey, and Yuugi looked at Isis helplessly, whose gaze warmed at his pleading expression.

“Would you mind accompanying me, Lord Yuugi? I am in need of your help.”

“Of course.” Yuugi hoped his relief wasn’t too obvious. Come to think of it, Atem had used a similar trick to evade his councilors before. Briefly, Yuugi wondered if everyone working in the palace took mandatory lessons on how to evade unwelcome company. Isis nodded to Anenut with a polite smile.

Anenut looked distinctly annoyed, but curled her pretty, painted lips and dipped in a graceful curtsy. “Ah, then please excuse me. Perhaps I will see you later, Lord Yuugi? I really would like to continue our conversation.”

“Su-sure.”

Anenut gave him a brilliant smile, one that reminded Yuugi of Anzu in one of her fiercer moods, and sashayed away. Isis gave him a sympathetic look.

“Don’t mind her, Yuugi. Shall I walk you back to the pharaoh’s chamber, or would you like to keep me company for a while?”

“Can I stay with you? I mean...if you have time?”

Isis’s gaze turned concerned. “I was startled to find you alone. I didn’t think the pharaoh would ever leave you unaccompanied. Did something happen?”

Yuugi sighed. After the shock of running into Anzu (Anenut, he had to correct himself again) he’d almost forgotten about what made him leave Atem and Kaiba behind in the first place. “Not...really. I just wanted some time alone.”

Isis nodded. “I thought maybe the pharaoh and Seth quarreled again. They used to do that a lot when they were younger, and it can be...uncomfortable being around them when they argue.”

No kidding, piped up a dry voice in Yuugi’s head. “I just...I haven’t had any time to myself since coming here.”

“Do you want me to leave?” Her question was friendly, offered out of thoughtfulness. Yuugi shook his head. He hadn’t really wanted to be alone, per se; sharing his body with another soul had made his notion of personal time somewhat different from most people, and besides, he rarely minded company. But being around Atem and Kaiba had been exhausting, especially when he started remembering all the things that could go wrong. “More than anything else, the pharaoh wants to protect you. That’s obvious, since he treasures you so. But it might be a good idea to remind him that you don’t need to be smothered. You haven’t even seen our city yet, have you?”

“No,” Yuugi admitted. He had been curious, but they’d had no time. He wasn’t sure if they ever would, but... This was Atem’s world, the place where he grew up and the people he loved. If they were here for a while, Yuugi wanted to see more before they left.

If they could leave at all. Yuugi pushed away the dark thought with effort.

“Well, I guess he would be kind of nervous to leave me on my own.”

Isis laughed softly at that. “I’ve seen you summon, Yuugi. I think you’ll be fine on your own.” The kindness in Isis’s gaze was startling, and reminded him of the way Mahaad sometimes looked at Atem, or Mana. “I don’t know what happened, but I can tell something bothers you. If you ever wish to, Yuugi, please don’t hesitate to talk to me.”

Eyes wide, Yuugi nodded. The warmth spreading in his chest banished the last of his dark thoughts, and Yuugi felt the knot of unease melt. “Thank you.”

Isis smiled at him, and there was a sisterly affection in her eyes that made Yuugi want to hug her. For her part, Isis merely smiled warmly. “Shall we go? I think there are a few places that Mahaad didn’t get around to showing you.”

~*~*~*~


Note: For Anzu's Egyptian name, I'd originally wanted to use ancient Egyptian word for apricot ("anzu"). Unfortunately I couldn't find it, so I went with annw.t, the fruit of annw tree (exactly what annw refers to is unclear), for the sound resemblance. Two Ladies refer to the vulture (Nekhbet) and the cobra (Wadjet). In ancient Egyptian culture, the temples were the earthly abode of the gods and had to be kept purified at all times. Only priests -- and the pharaoh, as the head of the state religion -- could enter, and only after rigorous purification rituals before and after. Some royal wives seemed to have kept religious functions as well.

...Also, I begin to think I should just pony up the family tree I drew up for the story. Hmm.
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