Ah, sorry about the slow update. But personally I think being smacked by a car makes for a damn good excuse for not writing. Ripped my left shoulder from its socket to almost the point of no return (a lot of physio is required to fix it), a nice concussion, broke two ribs and snapped my left wrist bone almost in half.

In a nut shell, I hurt... a lot.

So I haven't been able to type, work or anything lately along those lines, since I'm left handed, I now have scribed for school, lucky me. But they don't really help with typing Fan Fiction XD and let me be the first to say that typing with one hand is a slow... slow... SLOW process.

I want everyone to give a mega thanks to hannapat for beta-ing this for me. Now you don't have to live through my horrible grammar any more!

/

It was late morning in Cairo , Egypt . The sun soared high in the sky, increasing the heat to almost unbearable levels. Tourists and locals alike pushed their way through the narrow streets of a local, outdoor market. Everyone was desperate to get their shopping done as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid the afternoon heat.

One such person grumbled as he pushed past a larger man in a Hawaiian print tee-shirt. The figure had to squeeze past the older man, pulling the dark material of his hooded robe closer to his body.

The size of the crowd was ridiculous. There was no room to breath, and the figure could feel his body being shuffled along with the crowd. If he had not been used to this kind of thing, he would have been in trouble.

Side steeping out from underneath the arm of an elderly woman, the man was able to escape the swarming crowds, and press himself up against one of the many stalls that lined the market.

"Thank Ra" The figure breathed under his breath, taking large gasps of air to try and calm his breathing down. "I didn't think I was going to make it out of there in one piece."

Turning around, he noticed that he was leaning against one of the few food stands in this entire market. The part of town he was in was right at the edge of Cairo, right before all the magic of Egypt that people came to see. Finding a vendor that sold something besides gaudy trinkets was a feat on its own.

"What will it be, sir?" a curt voice said from beside him. The robed figure looked up at the voice, peering into the gruff expression on the man's face.

He placed a finger to his face, playing with the hood that hid his features. The vendor had a large variety of goods for sale, some more appetizing than the others. Eventually he pointed to a fresh looking pile of fruits and once again at the cans of pop beside them.

"3 cans of pop and bag full of those." He said to the vendor, before turning back to the crowd, watching it with a keen eye. "It seems like there are more people here than last year." The robed man said conversationally, leaning up against the stall and casually crossing his arms in front of his chest.

The vendor grunted as he shoved the fruit into the bag. "Seems so, doesn't it" he grumbled, pushing the robed mans purchase towards him. "Don't know if I love 'em or hate 'em. On one hand they pay the bills. On the other, they're such a headache."

"I agree completely my friend." The robed man said pulling the bag towards his person. "Guess I should pay you then?"

"You had better." The vendor growled, his eyes flashing angrily. "You would be amazed at how many people forget such a trivial task these days. And of course the police all frown on reminding them."

"Of course, of course," The hooded man said happily, his arm moving within the dark material of his robe. The vendor watched his customer carefully, half expecting the man to bolt. As subtly as he could, the vendor reached towards the knife he kept beside his cash box, prepared to ensure payment.

"Will this do?"

The vendor's head perked up, his hand releasing its grip on the knife's hilt. In the robed mans hand was an odd looking rod, with a winged orb at the top. An authentic looking Egyptian eye was set into the centre.

The vendor's eyebrow rose slightly as he stared at the object in front of him. It was definitely gold, and looked to be something one would see at a museum: a priceless artefact. "A little much for some fruit and pop don't you think?"

The figure laughed in agreement as he brought the rod up to the light. "True, true…" he said, rubbing a tan finger over one of the wings which branched off the orb. "But I am out of money, so unless you are willing to make a deal…"

The man's lips were still moving, but the vendor was no longer paying attention to what was being said. He was entranced by the object in his customers' hands. It was a beautiful piece, and the way it glowed in the sunlight was absolutely memorizing. He could stare at it for the rest of his life.

"A deal is fine…" the vendor said, slowly, his words slurred and rather monotonous, almost as if he wasn't all there. "In fact, don't worry about paying. Those were about to go bad anyway…"

The man in the robe grinned as he pushed the bag inside his robe. He was careful to keep the rod level with the vendor's face, not breaking contact. "Thank you very much." The robed man said cheerfully, leaning back away from the vendor with a grin on his with that the robed figure slinked back into the crowd, allowing his body to be pushed around with the mob once vendor blinked, shaking his head as if trying to rid himself of something. All of a sudden his head felt incredibly fuzzy. A heavily scarred hand came up, and the vendor rested his aching head up against it. "What on earth?" he groaned before slumping back down onto his plane wooden stool.

"Ugh… I feel hung-over

Looking around to the water bottle standing beside him, the vendor glared suspiciously at its half drunken contents. Gingerly, the he picked up the bottle as if it was toxic. He peered into the clear substance, before dumping it onto the rough cobble stone streets beneath him. He should know better than that, leaving a bottle open and unattended on his counter. This wouldn't be the first time some punk had slipped something into his water. When the vendor looked back at his stall, it was evident that a large chunk of his produce was missing.

"Why does this stuff always happen to me?"

Meanwhile, the robed figure was slowly but surely pushing his way through the crowd, now headed towards the busiest part of town. Eventually the figure found the place he had been looking for. With practiced ease, he slipped free once again and sipped into a deserted side alley.

As soon as he did so, darkness enveloped his figure. The high walls of the buildings surrounding him prevented any direct sunlight from entering the alley. With the dark material of his robe, the man became all but invisible within the cool cover of the shadows.A large grin spread across his face as he raised a tan hand up to lift the hood from his face. He was all but dying in the dark cover of his robe, the material soaking up the heat like a sponge. But for some reason beyond his understanding, a lot of the locals dressed like this, and it was absolutely necessary that he avoid attracting too much attention to himself.

As the hood slipped away from his features, long blonde hair shook free from its confines. Malik stripped the rest of the robe from his tan skin. Underneath the heavy robe, was his normal lilac shirt, and tan cargo pants.

Far more comfortable.

The robe flopped down to the ground in a heap. Malik stared at it for a few seconds, his grin turning into a thoughtful frown. As much as he hated the stupid thing, he couldn't just leave it he could...

But he would get in shit for it.

With a heavy sigh, Malik picked up the robe, gripping it in between his forefinger and thumb. Malik found himself paling at the smell. It didn't matter how often you washed them, the robes always ended up stinking after a couple hours of being worn.

Dragging the pile of black material on the ground behind him, Malik approached the very back of the alley. There were piles of boxes stacked up against the back wall, all abandoned and full of miscellaneous garbage. Any sane person wouldn't come within three feet of the thing, because if the robe had smelt bad, it was nothing compared to the smell emanating from these boxes. Malik could feel his stomach curling at the putrid sent.

Malik looked over his shoulder, making sure that the alley was still empty. He could hear the thunder of rustling feet, and the monotone roar of people's voices from here. The perfect cover.

Malik wrapped his hand around the Millennium rod, which was strapped to his belt. Almost instantly he felt the low throb of magic, filling up his entire body. Malik's eyes flashed as he stared at the boxes, focusing his magic into penetrating the barrier in front of him. Malik drew the image of the objects moving to the left corner of the alley way into his mind, before releasing the magical energies.

The boxes creaked slightly as Malik worked, and before a single bead of sweat had broken, they lurched roughly to the side.

Malik grinned when the boxes shifted. This was a new thing they had been experimenting with: magic beyond the set restrictions of their specific items. It took a bit of effort, but it was totally worth it to be able to do things like this. Malik had no interest what so ever in touching that disgusting garbage heap.

Ryou's yami, Bakura, was the best at this kind of thing. He had been using the Millennium Ring for other things for years. And of course no one really knew what the Millenium Puzzle could do, so neither Yugi nor Yami knew if they were doing something out of the ordinary.

Malik's fist clenched as those two names unwillingly slipped into his mind. All of the people here had been avoiding their name for a while now, because even hearing them brought an overwhelming urge to hit something. But, Malik thought to himself as his fist slowly unclenched, there is no reason to get all angsty over this. Best to save those kinds of emotions for when they could be of use.

Like in a dark game with an idiot for one.

And who ever said bottling their emotions was a bad thing?

Underneath the boxes Malik had just shoved aside was a trap door, one of the many that were spread through Cairo . Though rather clichéd for a secret entrance, Malik had to admit they did their job brilliantly. Only people who knew where they were hidden could find them.

With a mighty heave, Malik lifted up the heavy door to reveal the corridor hidden inside. Beneath the door was a plain stone stair case which led to the Egyptian underground.

Once, it had been the home of generations of tomb keepers. Malik hated every, single, thing to do with the place, from the overwhelming heat to the stuffy smell that lay heavily to the here he was, stepping deeper down the steps in a place he had once sworn he would never return to. Back to the worse memories of his life.

The caverns were practically empty, something, Malik considered a good thing. He all but hated the people down here, more than he hated the caverns themselves. They had all been so annoying with their zealous obsession about things that didn't matter in the slightest.

No, at the moment it was just him, Ryou and Bakura. All the other people who had once resided in these walls had left after the already not-so-important job of guarding the Pharaoh's secret became non-involved.

Malik was way into the underground own, and he could feel the heat increasing inside he could hear Ryou and his dark half, Bakura, talking. The large empty caverns tended to produce rather large echoes, no matter where you were. It was almost impossible to lose someone down here. Just follow the voices and you'll find them soon enough. Of course that tended to have its down side as much as its positives, but still.

Malik walked towards the sound of their voices. At least this time they weren't yelling like they had been for the last couple of weeks. Bakura and Ryou got on well enough most of the time, but for the rest of it they sounded like an old married couple. A lot of things had changed over the year between them; Ryou had learned to stand up for himself, while in turn Bakura had learned how…

How not to get himself possessed.

They even had a functioning relationship now, they just didn't always agree. And being locked in close corridors for an extended period of time was not helping their issues the end, Malik found his two white haired friends in one of the empty rooms towards the back of the underground. Without bothering to knock, Malik pushed up the plain hunk of wood that served as a makeshift door. Inside, the room was nothing short of a disaster.

It looked as if a bomb had gone off, and in the center of the mess was Bakura, sitting casually on a plain wooden chair with his legs kicked up onto one of the tables. Standing off to the side was the other side of his soul, Ryou. The latter was slowly working his way around the room, cleaning up papers, and stacking them in a neat pile beside one of Bakura's heavy boots.

Looking around the plain room, Malik noticed that the pair had been busy indeed. He didn't come down this far most of the time, trying to spend as little time down in the caverns as humanly possible. The last time he had walked all the way down here had been 3 weeks ago; at the time, the room had been so full of junk that it was non usable.

Apparently spending thousands of years deep underground led to a society of pack had decided that this room would be the easiest to clear since it was filled with the least stuff. Nevertheless, it had taken Ryou and Bakura hours to empty the room of its unneeded contents. Malik had laughed as Ryou had dragged a fighting Bakura into the mess, wishing them good look in their impossible job.

Now that he was back, Malik noticed that all the junk had been cleared out and replaced with an aged bookshelf containing a small selection of books and a scroll or two, as well as Bakura's table and chair.

Ryou's head perked up as he heard Malik enter the room. A small smile flit across the light's thin face and he raised his hand in a quick wave before heading over to the bookshelf.

"There you are! We were getting worried!" Ryou said, as he lifted Bakura's feet up off the wooden table and slipped one of the books under Bakura's feet so they were not resting on the wooden surface.

The latter's dark red eyes glared up his previously comfortable position was moved to suit Ryou's clean freak needs. "No Ryou, you were worried. I on the other hand am annoyed he's back."

"Bakura!" Ryou's pale hand stretched out, and a chuckle slipped through Malik's lips as it smacked Bakura over the head. "Play nicely!"

Bakura snorted distastefully, rolling his eyes. With a quick movement that Malik almost did not catch, Bakura swung himself from the desk, leaving his chair and landing elegantly on the rough flooring.

"You, my little tomb keeper, are an idiot." Bakura sneered as he lowered his face down to Malik's eye level. The latter blinked at the sudden appearance, tilting his head to the side quizzically.

"How so?" Malik asked, grabbing a piece of fruit from the bag he was carrying. Malik quickly pulled two of the fruits from the bunch, and threw one to Ryou before un-peeling his own. "You really need to be more specific when calling me an idiot Bakura, because you call me that at least twice a day. I never know if I've just annoyed you or seriously pissed you off."

The amber eyes of the thief started to glitter in amusement. "How much was the pop?" he asked snidely, nudging the brown paper bag with his foot. One of the red aluminium cans started to roll out of the top of the bag, before rolling back in as Bakura shifted his boot.A smirk spread across Malik's face, and he stopped down to grab his bag before side stepping around the thief and plunking down on the now empty seat. "Isn't that just the question of the day?" He replied, throwing one of the cokes to Ryou before cracking open his own. Carelessly, he kicked off his boats and slammed his feet onto the table.

Ryou caught the can, just stopping it before it hit in the face. Malik snickered slightly as he watched the light stare at the can suspiciously.

"Well Malik, are you going to answer my question?" Bakura asked, and Malik tilted his head to the side, before taking a long drink of the overly sweet liquid.

He shrugged, his lilac shirt folding up at the shoulders as it moved with its owner. "I have no idea, I didn't pay a thing. Mind control is so useful."

"Of course it's useful!" Bakura snapped, stalking over to where Malik sat, and ripping the coke from the teen's fingers. Malik tried to protest but Bakura just glared. With his other hand, Bakura grabbed the leather string that kept the Millenium ring around his neck, and lifted it to eye level. "For you and for everyone that is tracking you! Idiot. You could have led them right here!"

The silence in the room after Bakura's outburst quickly became awkward. Both Ryou and Bakura where staring at Malik now. Bakura was glaring angrily, as if debating whether or not to run the blond through with a knife, and Ryou looked like he wanted to shake his head and perhaps mutter something sarcastic.

"Yes, but I didn't lead anyone here, so why do I care?" Malik asked, completely unaffected by Bakura's death glare. "Can I have my pop back? Yours is still in the bag, Bakura."

"Not a hope Malik, I want this one, so you can go get your own." Bakura sneered, taking a drink of the liquid, relishing the taste. After living on lukewarm water for so long, the drink seemed almost like heaven.

Almost.

"Next time, if you want to come up with a plan to get us killed, make sure that it's beer that you grab."

Malik laughed, grabbed another can and yet again cracked it open. "Liquor is more difficult to get a hold of. And while I would appreciate the challenge, would that not make your speech a little hypocritical?"

"Shut up Malik."

Ryou buried his face in his hands, moaning slightly into his open palm. "You guys are both idiots!" he said quietly, the words muffled slightly.

"Yeah, but you love us anyway."

Ryou's head lifted up again at the joking comment, and rolled his eyes to the ceiling. Now that he was done with what little tidying he could possibly do in the messy room. Ryou moved to pull himself up onto the table.

"Fine then." Malik muttered, glaring at Ryou, but the look was marred by the humour in his eyes. "That hurt Ryou, It really did. I don't think I'm going to survive. My world is ending." Bakura laughed at this, and Ryou let out a small chuckle, covering his mouth with his hand politely as he tried to keep the undignified sound within himself.

There was no response to that statement, so they sat there for a few minutes, just the three of them, in silence. It was comfortable for once, not full of awkwardness or tension. Malik felt his eyes wander around the room, taking in the thick volumes that lined the bookshelf. They were big and heavy, covered in dust from years of disuse. Visible finger prints lined the spine, where either Bakura or Ryou had picked them up. Malik only recognized a couple of the titles, from his own time wandering these corridors, bored out of his of them seemed to be about tracking magic, if Malik's translating skills were anything to go by.

Mind you he wasn't really paying that much attention to what he was doing. But that would make sense; Bakura could use the Millennium ring to track down just about anything that had a strong sense of magic. However, what they were trying to track down was a long way away from their current location, so the thief (at Ryou's insistence) was trying to find someway to get around that fact.

Now that he was on that track, Malik realized that he was pretty far behind on updates as to what Bakura was doing down here. In fact he hadn't heard anything since they got here and Bakura had cleaned a big enough hole to start working in, leaving Ryou to do the rest of the work.

"How's it going down here?" the question echoed around the room as both the light and dark turned to Malik. Bakura moved slightly, going to stand beside the table Ryou was sitting on, leaning up against the wall and crossing his arms."Not well." Bakura said, finally, his words slow, carefully chosen. "Not well at all. Next time I see his little highness I am going to kick his scrawny ass as far as I can for this."Malik chuckled slightly, but the noise did not quiet reach his eyes, which remained as solemn as they had when he asked the question. "So you haven't been able to get a hold of anything? No signal at all?"

It was Ryou who answered this time, his voice rising up before Bakura had a chance to open his mouth. "No, not yet. We're starting to get worried. The ring picks up on Magical energies, right? That's how it finds the items, which radiate the stuff. But unlike the other items, the Puzzle needs to be in one piece for us to pick up on it."

Malik nodded, "Yes I knew that. Besides we figured that the puzzle had broken after Yami disappeared like that. I would have thought that you would have started to look for something else by now, as the puzzle signal isn't going to work.""We have been but it's too far a way to pick up a proper signal." Ryou said, a frown crossing his normally calm features.

"How does that work? Yugi's magical signature is as strong as the items, easily. After the Darks came back, his and your magic grew incredibly to keep up with them. It sounds odd that Bakura couldn't at least pick up a faint signal."

Ryou's face went from a frown to a quizzical expression. "I see your point. It should work…. I was wondering that too, but I wasn't sure. My other question though, was why Yugi has not solved the Puzzle by now. I'm sure that was a first priority for him."

"I don't think he can." Bakura said harshly. He hadn't spoken for a while, keeping to the wall he was currently backed up against. Now though, everyone's attention was on him and the normally uncaring thief looked serious, his expression dark.

"What are you talking about Bakura?" Ryou asked his voice low and hesitant as he stared at his dark. Malik could see the colour rapidly leaving the pale boy's skin, making it almost as white as his long hair. Although Malik was sure that his own colour wasn't much better.

Malik could feel his heart beating in his chest, and a cruel band wrap around his lungs as his mind started to connect the dots. His ears perked up as Ryou spoke however, waiting almost desperately for Bakura's answer. Malik didn't even know why he felt so anxious.

"Think about it Ryou. We don't know what happened to Yugi after he kicked us out of there. But we know that he was not the one in charge of the situation. He let the Puzzle be shattered, Ryou. Highness would not have let that happen to Yami unless he had no other choice. And judging by the fact he still hasn't solved the puzzle, and I haven't picked up his signature since then, I doubt that I'm going to be able to do so now. No matter how hard I try. It's over Ryou."

Ryou's brown eyes grew wider, as he slowly slid his way of the table, his feet landing light on the ground. His entire body was quivering. This wasn't the answer he had wanted to hear, that much was obvious. It wasn't the answer Malik had wanted either.

It's over Ryou.

"You're joking." Ryou said the words shaky and unbalanced. "Please tell me you're joking. 'Kura please, this isn't funny."

It's over Ryou.

Bakura sighed softly, running his fingers through his mane of white hair, pulling the bangs away from his face. "Ryou, do you honestly think I would be joking about something like this? Not now at least. You have to face the facts. Yugi's gone... And he's not coming back."

It's over...

Over...

It's over... Yugi's gone... It's over...

He's not coming back.

It's over.

That was it for Ryou. Those brown eyes started to water, and his bottom lip started to shake as he stared blankly at his dark. Tears started to stream down his face, and the subtle shaking from before became more vigorous as it enveloped his entire body.

"Stop..." he whispered, but nobody heard the voice.

"The only thing we can do now is to get the Puzzle back, try and solve it. We can't leave it there. Once we have Yami back, well go and get some revenge, this won't stand."

"SHUT UP!"

A blur of white ran from the room as Ryou sprinted through the door. His footsteps echoed through the hallway, but not loudly enough to obscure Ryou's sobbing. Malik fought onto keep his own emoticons in check, but they where slowly threatening to overwhelm him. The only thing keeping him together right now was the years of training had been forced to endure. To keep his emoticons locked up.

Bakura sighed as he once again sat down in his chair, and picked up the pop that Ryou had thrown to the ground in his frenzy. The thief did not sprawl across the chair as he normally would have however. Instead, he sat, perfectly straight, staring out at wall with dulled eyes.

"That was well done." Malik growled slightly, moving to stand beside the thief and crossing his arms once more. "Really well done Bakura."

Amber eyes flashed dangerously as they turned to Malik's direction, and the tomb keeper

felt himself flinch under the force of the glare. "Shut up Malik." He said, his words, unintentionally echoing those of his distraught other.

"Why? After that little scene? You know you could have been a little gentler with Ryou about this. He doesn't respond well to this sort of thing, and there is no reason why he had to know."

Bakura growled slightly, standing up from his chair to hover over Malik. "You're the one that had to bring it up Malik, telling him that I should be able to pick up Yugi on the ring. Besides, Ryou should know just as well as the rest of us that this kind of thing happens. It's life, but he's gotten too used to those fairy tale endings, where the 'good guy' always wins."

"Whatever you say, Bakura." Malik said, pushing away from the spirit and walking towards the door. "You can sit here and work this out if you want. I'm going to go see if I can calm him down. Although I would recommend that you leave him alone until then."With that, the blonde was gone and Bakura was left in the now empty room, staring at the wall.

"DAMN IT!" He yelled to no one in particular, slamming his fist against the table and once again cursing the idiots who had gotten them stuck in this position, without anyway out of it