AU Set in Ancient Egypt. Seto/Jonouchi "We all lose in the end. We're nothing but moments in the sands of time, forgotten by who follows."
A Yugi-Oh Fanfic
There was no witnesses to the battle. It was a private match, personal powers plenty in both battlers to make up for the lack of attending power priests. but as the stone plaques retook their position at the end of the battle, the one contestant cursed, and didn't move. His blonde hair hung in his face, and his hand was clenched at his side. He wore simple clothes, one might have mistaken him for a peasant if one had not witnessed the power he'd just used.
The High Priest crossed the battlefield to him. "You have lost. Your freedom is once again forfeit."
Brown eyes glanced up through blonde bangs. An angry fire burned in them. "You cheated the first night. You didn't tell me who you were. I wouldn't have fought you had I known. And I wouldn't be stuck trying to win my freedom in an impossible battle. No one can win against you!"
"You were overconfident."
"You are the only one I've lost to."
"You hide your powers - that's why. None suspect the power you hold with how simply you dress and act." The High Priest told him. "And yet, you do hold power. You're a virtual reservoir of power."
His blue eyes seemed to suck him toward him. The blonde looked away. "I will not give you my power. You have too much already."
"And the Pharaoh does not?"
"The Pharaoh is the Pharaoh...and he does not use his power for ill."
"And I do?" Ice entered his tone.
"What do you call holding someone against their will while you seek to tap their power?" The blonde demanded.
"I have...other reasons for keeping you here." The High Priest murmured, reaching out to stroke the blonde's neck and down his arm.
"Force me, if you want, but never fool yourself into believing I would come to yo willingly."
He dropped his hand. "I don't want to force you. I want you willing."
"Never." The blonde told him.
The High Priest bridged the gap between them suddenly, kissing him fiercely - his tongue slipping past the blonde's lips as he gasped in surprise. His tongue explored the other man's mouth, stroked his tongue. For a moment he felt the blonde weaken. Their bodies pressed together, his hands rested on his shoulders, his tongue moved against his. He pressed his advantage, wrapping his arms around the other's waist, pressing closer - their teeth touching in the heat of the kiss.
Then the blonde pulled away, his hands shoved at the shoulders they'd once clung to. "Don't ruin it, live the moment with me." The High Priest whispered.
"No!" The blonde escaped his hold. "Never willingly! I will not be yours!"
For a moment there was aching sorrow in his usually hard blue eyes, then a wall closed in them - hiding the emotion. "Go. Guard my brother. I do not wish to see you right now."
His words twisted at the blonde's heart. But he bowed. "Your servant, my lord High Priest." He strode from the room.
Jonouchi knew the High Priest was mad at him when he sent him to guard his brother. Frankly, Mokuba was a spoiled brat - even if he was the light of Seto's eyes.
"You made him mad again, huh?" Was Mokuba's greeting. "Why does he keep sending you to me? What am I supposed to do with his worn out plaything?" Mokuba smiled when Jonouchi's hand clenched, knowing he'd hit home. "Well, make yourself useful. Clean up the room."
"Get your servants to do it. I'm here to guard you, I'm not your maid."
"Maybe we should ask Seto."
"He's not in the mood to see me."
"Then he won't be thrilled to have me call him here, will he?" Mokuba smirked, knowing he'd won.
Jonouchi began to clean up the room, picking things up and putting them back. As soon as he'd move on to another section, Mokuba would mess up the first one again, but eventually the young boy seemed to grow tired of the game. Announcing that he was going to bath, he entered his private bathing chambers - closing the door. Jonouchi finally managed to finish setting the room to order and lay down on some pillows on the floor. He only intended to relax for a few minutes, not sleep, but sleep claimed him anyway. His dreams were filled with blue eyes and fiery kisses. Soft touches and the low voice of the High Priest. "Live the moment with me."
He woke up when a glass of cold water was thrown in his face. He looked up at Mokuba, startled, wondering why he hadn't awoken at the sound of the door. The lighting suggested nighttime had fallen. "Some guard, asleep on the job." Mokuba said.
Jonouchi stood up, faintly aware of a sweet smell in the air that faded too fast to recognize it. "You take too long of baths." He retorted.
"You have fascinating dreams - calling out my brother's name."
Jonouchi turned bright red. "What??"
"Does my brother know what sort of dreams you have about him? Maybe I should tell him!"
"Don't you dare mention - " He began.
"I think I'll tell him right now!" Mokuba ran out of the room.
Jonouchi charged after him. "Mokuba!"
Up hallways, down stairs, through so many rooms he lost count, the chase was on. He had no idea where they were or where they were going. But somehow he managed to stay right behind Mokuba. Right when he thought he'd lost him, he would laugh, or his footsteps would pound heavier. Part of him knew that was strange, knew Mokuba should have lost him easily - as he'd lived there all his life, but he kept running anyway.
There was a guard asleep on either side of the double doors Mokuba ran through - they were snoring loudly, and once again he detected a sweet scent in the air. It all clicked in his mind as he ran through the doors. Mokuba had never intended to lose him. He had intended him to follow him here. Because "here" was Seto's chambers. The guards were put to sleep by magic - Mokuba's magic. The same magic that had put him to sleep, too.
Seto was looking between them, certainly surprised and a little confused. "I brought him back." Mokuba told him. "I have no use for him, but I know you do."
Jonouchi blushed, looking down at the floor, knowing exactly what Mokuba had meant by that.
"I see..." Seto said slowly.
"Besides," Mokuba continued, "He was moaning for you in his sleep and so I figured he'd rather be with you anyway.
Jonouchi's head shot up, blushing even more furiously. He glared at Mokuba, who only smirked. Then he caught Seto looking at him - eyebrows raised, looking quite amused.
"Did he?" He asked.
"He certainly did. Several times in fact. So he's yours again, brother. Have fun." Mokuba strode from the room. They could hear cries of surprise from the guards now freed from the younger man's spell, and Mokuba's voice drifted back inside - "Sleeping on the job? You should be ashamed of yourselves..."
Silence followed, then Jonouchi started for the door as well. "You expressed a wish not to see me, my lord High Priest..."
The door lock moved of its own will, sliding shut. "A temporary affliction." Seto told him. "Come, dine with me."
Jonouchi stood still a moment, then moved forward to stand by the table. He noted the second plate and cup. "You were expecting me."
"Perhaps." Seto replied. He'd actually been planning on other - temporary - company, but since Jonouchi was who he truly wanted he didn't mind the change of plans. "Sit."
He debated about refusing, but decided against it. He sat down as the dishes served themselves onto the plates and a wine pitcher filled their glasses. There was no scent to the elder brother's magic, but there was a feeling to it that had grown equally familiar over his months of captivity. Seto sat down next to him, taking his hand in his. "My lord High Priest-"
"Seto." He corrected. "My name, Jonouchi, is Seto..." He kissed the palm of his captured hand. "I'm glad Mokuba brought you back. I regretted dismissing you like that." He kissed his palm again, then released his hand. "Eat."
Jonouchi wasn't sure he could. His stomach already felt full - of butterflies...
"You barely ate." Seto mentioned after dinner was taken away.
"I wasn't very hungry." He answered. He hoped the High Priest would send him away after dinner, but he'd ordered him to stay longer. And until he'd recovered his freedom, he was the High Priest's to command. He glanced at the double doors that were locked once again.
"Come, sit - relax." Seto led him to a section of the room that was curtained off. It was full of cushioned chairs and couches. Pillows were strewn everywhere. Relaxing onto large couch, he gave a tug on his wrist - indicating he should sit down with him. Jonouchi reluctantly complied "More wine?"
"No, nothing. Thank-you." He declined. Seto reached out a hand to caress the side of his face, which he turned away. "Please, don't."
"Jonouchi." He took his hand in his. "Don't push me away...we both know Mokuba wasn't lying. You long for me as I long for you." He took ahold of his chin, turning his face toward him. "We could experience such wonders together."
"Not when I am your prisoner." Jonouchi pulled away again.
"This again?" Seto sat back with a scowl.
"How can you expect it to be other wise?" Jonouchi asked him. "You are my captor. How can I forget that?"
"You seem to forget it in your dreams."
"That is unfair! You have no right to my dreams! Mokuba used his magic on me!"
"To put you to sleep, yes. To make you speak, perhaps. But that dream was your creation - not his."
"Have I no right to privacy even in my dreams?" Jonouchi demanded. "I'm not made of stone, of course I long for you. Your touch is a torment - your kiss a torture to resist. But as long as I am your prisoner, I will never be yours willingly."
"If you were free you would leave me!" Seto cried out, standing. "You would return to him!"
"Him? You mean the Pharaoh? Who do you think he is to me?"
"I don't know, and I don't wish to."
"I am loyal to him - "
"As a dog to a master." Seto sneered.
"As a soldier to his king. As a friend." Jonouchi corrected. "No more."
"Yet you would leave me in an instant to return to him!" He challenged turning away. "So be it. You can go."
"Do I have to explain it to you?" Seto whirled back. "You're free. You can leave. My chamber. My lands." He pointed to the doors, and the lock unlocked. "I can no longer stand to be near you and not touch you. Should I retain you longer, I may do something brash and the last thing I want is to hurt you. So leave before I change my mind." He turned away. "I was a fool to think I could ever have anything besides power." With that he was gone, striding across the room to disappear through another set of doors.
Jonouchi looked between the entry doors, and the doors Seto had gone through.
"Fool." He cursed himself, removing his cape. "Now you have lost him forever." He sensed the presense behind him, and the power it contained. His fury had found a new target. "Who dares?" He whirled. Noone was there. "I am in no mood for games!" He turned, grabbing the intruder and flipping them onto the bed - his elbow under their chin. He froze when he realized he was looking into familiar brown eyes. "Jonouchi!" He released him. "What game are you playing?? I could have seriously injured you before I knew who you were!"
"I couldn't leave things as they were." Jonouchi told him, sitting up and rubbing his throat.
"There's no more to say." Seto told him.
"There's plenty more to say." Jonouchi stood. "You gave me my freedom."
"And I could change my mind in an instant, so leave while you have the chance."
"We were talking , but you weren't listening, were you?"
"What-" Seto cut off when Jonouchi kissed him. The kiss was brief. A butterfly wing's against his lips. But it left him burning. He held himself in place, only by the strength of all his willpower. "Do not tease me. You have every right to seek revenge for all I have done to you - but do not tease me. You are playing with fire, General."
Jonouchi's eyes widened, then narrowed angrily. His hand lashed out to cuff him. "How dare you! How dare you twist my actions like that! If I wanted revenge I could have it in an instant. I could go to the Pharaoh and tell him all you have done, and he would avenge me!"
"Are you threatening me?" Seto asked, still holding the jaw he'd hit.
"I am telling the truth...You fool! You understand nothing. I said as long as I was your prisoner nothing could be between us. But you gave me my freedom. That changes everything."
"It changes nothing. We are both the same." Seto contradicted.
"Our positions have changed. I was your slave, now I am a free man. I can choose."
"I let you choose as a prisoner." Seto reminded him.
"But I was still your slave."
"I think that difference only exists in your mind. When you said no, I listened." Seto told him, then paused. "Mostly." He added.
"But not when I said yes." Jonouchi turned away, heading for the door.
"Wait, please." Seto told him. "Please, stay...I cannot stand this to end like this."
Jonouchi paused, turning back. "If there is to be anything between us, I need your trust, Seto."
"I am not good at trust. But I will try...you called me by my name." He realized.
Jonouchi pointed at the doors, and the lock slid shut. He walked slowly forward. "Yes, I did...Seto."
He took a step forward, and paused. Then he reached out to pull him into his arms, his lips descending on his hungrily. Jonouchi wrapped his arms around his neck, pressing his body against his. "Say my name again, please." He broke the kiss, but his fingers trailed paths over Jonouchi's skin.
He shivered at the feeling of his hands on his body, then leaned up so his lips brushed against his ear. "Seto..." His lips played with his earlobe.
It was Seto's turn to shiver. He wrapped his arms around his waist, and leaned back - lifting him up. Jonouchi gasped, clinging to his shoulders for support. "I want to hear you moan my name...I want to hear you scream it." He told him as he carried him to the bed. Jonouchi silenced him with a kiss...
Mokuba paused, hearing laughter from his brother's bedroom. He smiled, sneaking toward the door.
On the High Priest's bed, Jonouchi and Seto were rolling back and forth - each trying to pin the other down. Seto finally won, sitting on top of the blonde and pinning his arms to the bed. "I win." Seto told him, though his breathing was heavy.
Jonouchi laughed. "Alright. I'll stay another month." He promised. Seto released him, and Jonouchi rolled, pinning the priest beneath him. The brunette only laughed, one arm wrapping around Jonouchi's waist. The other hand set a finger on his backbone, sliding upward in a featherlight touch. Jonouchi gasped his back arching. He squirmed. "Seto!"
Seto took advantage of the situation, rolling over to be on top again. "Ah, so beautiful..." He murmered, and began kissing his neck. "How did I get so lucky?"
"Cheating." Jonouchi couldn't resist saying. Seto paused, then nipped his shoulder lightly. "Hey!" He complained, trying to sit up. Seto struggled to prevent him, the two fighting for dominance.
"I didn't cheat." Seto whispered in his ear.
"You didn't tell me who you were." Jonouchi countered.
"Nor did you tell me who you were." Seto replied.
"You tricked me." Jonouchi tried to roll on top again, but Seto proved unmoveable.
"I set a trap." The brunette corrected, his hand stroking up his lover's chest. "And you fell...right into it..." His hand found the spot it was seeking, and Jonouchi moaned - pressing back into the bed. Seto pressed kisses all over his neck and shoulders. "I'm glad you did, my golden treasure."
"Mmmnnn..." Jonouchi groaned, his eyes sliding shut. "I'm rather glad I did." He confessed.
Seto paused, eyes wide. Jonouchi, noting his stilled actions, opened his eyes. He saw Seto's startled look and smiled, wrapping his arms around his neck - drawing him down into a kiss that expressed his feelings more than words could say. The playfulness disappeared from their lovemaking. They pressed closer, the kiss turning passionate.
A knock sounded on the door. Seto broke the kiss. "Who dares??"
"Oh, big brother..." Mokuba's voice came through the door. "I hate to interrupt."
"I'll bet." Jonouchi sighed.
"Mokuba, can't this wait?" Seto asked pointedly.
"I'm not sure. You'll have to decide."
"What's the mean?" Seto asked, finally breaking the embrace to stand up. He sounded irritated.
"Well, the Pharaoh's letter isn't addressed to me - it's addressed to you. So I can't open it. But if I'm sensing right - he's coming here."
"Atem coming here?" Jonouchi's eyes widened. He hastily stood as well, as Seto rushed to open the door.
Mokuba looked up at him blankly. "Is that bad?" As fun as interrupting his brother with his lover had been, this wasn't the reaction he'd expected.
Seto took the letter, striding past Mokuba into his main room. He broke the seal on the letter. A ghostly image of the Pharaoh appeared, glancing around the room. "I'll be there in two day's time." He told them, and disappeared. Jonouchi slowly emerged from the room as Seto read through the letter. His piercing blue eyes sought out the chocolate one of his lover's. "He was looking for you."
"I sensed it." Jonouchi admitted.
Seto frowned. "Mokuba, can you leave us alone?"
Mokuba glanced between them and sighed. "Fine, I'll go. So you can fight." He headed for the door.
"We aren't going to fight." Jonouchi told him.
"You're going to fight." Mokuba replied before leaving.
"No, we aren't!" He called after him.
"Aren't we?" Seto's voice was icy.
Jonouchi turned back to him. "I refuse to fight with you over this yet again."
"To seek your energy in my palace as though - "
"You would hold me prisoner?" Jonouchi challenged. Seto hesitated. "I disappeared on your lands. It makes sense to come here."
"For a Pharaoh to expand so much energy to find his chief general...he must care for you deeply."
Jonouchi shook his head in resignation. "As a friend, Seto - no more."
"So you keep saying. You'll be leaving with him, I suppose."
"...what choice is there? Once we meet up, he'll expect me to - "
"Then hide." Seto turned to him. "Don't meet him."
Jonouchi looked at him sadly. "I can't do that."
"Then you do choose him over me!"
"Why must I choose!" Jonouchi asked, his tone anguished. "You are his High Priest! Our chances to meet will be plentiful!"
"We are enemies disguised as allies." Seto replied. "Why else were you sent onto my lands in secret? My loyalty is suspect - is it not?"
"I've found nothing to back that claim." Jonouchi said quietly, though he did not meet the other man's gaze.
"Were you not held prisoner in these walls?"
"I was held prisoner by my word. You used trickery, yes...you desire power, certainly...but nothing I've seen convinces me that you covet the throne."
"We are destined to battle. You will have to choose."
Jonouchi turned away to lean against the door. "Damn it, how can I? How can I choose between my loyalty and my heart??"
"Jonouchi." Seto's breath was warm in his ear as his arms clamped about his waist. "Choose me..."
Jonouchi turned to bury his face in the crook of the High Priest's shoulder. "Seto..." He murmured discontentedly.
"Choose me..." Seto whispered again, pressing his lips to his neck softly but urgently.
Jonouchi silenced his words with a kiss, his hand weaving in his lover's brown locks. Their teeth met, their tongues dueling briefly. When Seto began to pull back, he clung tighter. "Live the moment with me..."
He'd barely spoken the plea when Seto crashed his mouth down on his fiercely. He pushed him back toward the bed, and Jonouchi barely had time to shut the bedroom doors with his magic before he found himself pressed to the bed with Seto on top of him. He gave none of his usual fight for dominance, surrendering completely to his lover. Their kisses and touches were hungry and desperate, not just for each other - but for the need to forget what the future would bring.
The attack came during the night. There was only a brief flare of power as warning. It was one warning too many. Jonouchi did not even blink as the assassin screamed in anguish - surrounded by blue flame. "My brother." Seto said as more attackers came through the window.
He had no need to say more. Jonouchi was out of the bed and running through the halls before the second wave of attackers were dead. The sweet smell of Mokuba's magic was so strong it was almost sickening. But the tang of blood accompanying it made Jonouchi's heart tighten painfully. The doors to to the younger man's room turned to dust with the wave of his hand. The sight that greeted him was not encouraging. Though the body of the first attacker made him feel a twinge of pride. The boy was growing up.
He felt his heart stop at the sight of the familiar mop of black hair spread across the floor, mingled with blood. It wasn't until the red flame of his swordsman sliced through the assassin who's sword was raised that he even knew for certain he wasn't too late. The head raised ever so slightly. "Jonouchi?" The voice was rough through a throat quickly turning purple with bruising. "Why does he keep sending you to me?"
Scooping the boy up in his arms, his mouth quirked slightly at his words. But his brown eyes were cold as the third wave entered the room. He was grateful that he could feel by the weight in his arms that unconsciousness had claimed his lover's brother. Growing up or not, he was still too young to witness the death he wrought upon his would-be killers.
It wasn't until Seto was there, stroking Mokuba's hair and ordering for the physicians that he thought to look at the faces. Or what was left of them. No one he recognized. Not Atem's men. Not his men. He told himself they were too clumsy to be his own anyway. That he had known that already when he had fought them, killed them. But he wasn't a particularly skilled liar, it seemed, and he left the room amidst the chaos that followed the attack.
Seto did not find him until sunrise. Mokuba's welfare had been his primary concern, but then there was his own guards to question; to berate for their failure. There were no prisoners, and no symbols to identify the men. Jonouchi knew the question was coming before it left his lips.
"If these were my men, do you think you would be alive?"
"Yes." There was a touch of arrogance to the word, but it was also the truth.
"Mokuba would not be." The words were quiet, but he felt the instant tension in the body next to him.
"Did you know? Did you know they weren't his when you went to rescue my brother?"
"...no." The word drug itself from his mouth.
The tension seemed to leave Seto then, and his arms wrapped around him. "Then you fought for us without even thinking..."
He broke the embrace, standing. He wanted to walk away and keep walking. He wanted to turn and bury himself in those arms. He wanted to erase the memory of Mokuba sprawled on the floor, and the way it had affected him. He wanted to forget the fact that he hadn't known it wasn't his own men when he'd attacked to protect the High Priest's younger brother, or how that made him feel.
What if it had been his own men? Would he have stopped them? What if the next attack was? What if Atem ordered him to attack? He slammed his fist into the wall, ignoring the jolt of pain it sent through him.
Seto's hands gripped his shoulders. "Don't..."
He sagged against him, letting him massage the hand that was now bruising. "Why must you be enemies?"
"Why can't you choose me?" Came the counter.
Jonouchi chuckled painfully. "It doesn't matter who I choose. I lose either way." He felt his lover's face bury in his neck, and leaned against him, closing his eyes.
"We all lose in the end. We're nothing but moments in the sands of time, forgotten by who follows."
The words were painfully unlike him, and Jonouchi reached up to bury his fingers in the other man's brown hair, nuzzling closer. "But it's our moment."
Seto's chuckle was no less painful then his from minutes before. "Yes."
The Pharaoh arrived the day he said he would. Jonouchi explained about the attack and the ongoing investigation into who would dare to attack the High Priest and his family. Neither Atem or Seto said a word about why Jonouchi would have been on the premises to begin with.
If the Pharaoh suspected his Chief General had been detained against his will, he said nothing. Nor did the High Priest bring up that it was suspicious that the Chief General had been in his lands unannounced. But when the High Priest asked if the Chief General could be spared to assist with the investigation, the Pharaoh denied his request.
It was Mokuba who saw them off the day they left. It was a breach in protocol, but it too was overlooked. He'd feared what the High Priest's brother would say, but when he did approach him it was simple. "Thank-you for being here." He'd expected to see accusation in those dark eyes, but there was none. Only sorrow. He thought that might have been worse.
"Jonouchi?" Atem's voice was questioning.
"I'm coming." He told him, and he knew that answer was sufficient for all the unasked questions his friend had voiced with only his name. Still he found himself hesitating, glancing up at the palace once more. He saw him in the window, watching him with blue eyes that for a single moment were filled with warmth. Then the wall was brought down, and there was only emptiness. Jonouchi closed his own brown orbs before opening them again.
It was the Chief General who gazed up at the High Priest now, before turning away to follow the Pharaoh. What had come before was no more than forgotten moments in the sands of time.
I think I started this fic something like six years ago. LOL Even so, I think I'm pleased with it. Seems I can't write a happy things to save my life right now, though - all my latest fics and updates have been rather tragic. I've got to fix that...
I don't often step out of canon when it comes to writing yaoi fics. And the fact is I'm very fond of JoeyxMai. But I've been fond of the SetoxJoey fandom for a long time. The dynamics of their characters in a relationship makes for excellent reading. I do hope everyone enjoys this.