The colder winds announced the seasons arrival, a little longer and the first flakes of snow would cover the vivid nature around the little cottage. It wasn't big, just a little two story home out of the well known settlement, with the lighthouses sheen in the distance.
They could've gone anywhere, but for now, they decided to stay.
Atem was sitting by the fireplace, sighing heavily while reading through books he was tired of studying, but were needed for what would be his future profession. Gone were the days where he was believed to be a ' ruler' ; since his first own breath his destiny was written anew. Now he needed to learn to adjust to a society so vividly different than the one he knew, and sooner or later he would need to find a profession he was content with.
But this was for the future. Now he was able to choose what he could and would do. No invisible chains holding him back, no unspoken etiquette dictating his life. He was truly free.
He closed the book, thinking back to the days he was nothing but a whisper on the wind, trying his best to keep everyone safe…
The door on the upper floor opened, followed by footsteps that will soon give sight to his ever glowing light in the darkness. Although truth be told, this specific light looked very tired .
Atem's glance never left Yugi's Form as he slumped down the stairs, his buttoned shirt in a stark contrast to his comfy pyjama pants. Their eyes met, and for a second Yugi was contemplating if he should go to the kitchen - as intended - or should join Atem in the living room.
The choice was clear. Atem greeted him with open arms, felt how Yugi's Head instantly rested in the crook of his neck, breathing in his scent with a deep sigh, and his hand lay down on Atem's chest, where he was able to feel it.
The steady beat of his heart. Pulsing the warmth of life through him. It still was a miracle, even after all these months…
Granted a wish by Slipher was the easier part in coming back. Once he settled in, Atem realized what it truly meant to be alive again. Luckily Joey helped them - after the initial shock of a red sea serpent and being face to face with the ghost again. He helped them settle along, finding an explanation of Atem's sudden appearance and also more or less 'convinced' the local policeman that all documents for Atem were lost in the storm that raged, and he dearly needed new ones.
He remembered feeling like being trapped in a vortex, and he was more than grateful to have had someone to hold on to.
He held him closer, placing his lips on the forehead of the man that meant the world to him.
"How are your studies going?", Yugi asked and learned in closer, if it even was possible. In the beginning they still tried to slip into each other, and it left a trace of longing for past times. Though it never lasted long, the possibilities of the newer times being far more delightful.
"Good", he answered nearly accent free, though the Arabic tune was still there. It made Yugi's lips curl upon the skin of his beloved. With Atem needing to possess him when he wanted to speak, his accent was barely noticeable; the words flowing more easily over their shared lips. With Atem being his own again it was different. His mind lingered on, evolved and adjusted to the life at Crawford Sound, over a century of watching and learning. But his body hadn't changed much; they even found old scars from his time back in Cairo on his body. Luckily the lethal wound never left a scar; while still bleeding it never had the chance to heal, and with him being a ghost there was no reason to heal.
They still had their own testimony of the time. Atem reached to the ring dangling from Yugi's Neck, restored with three red gems matching his own, yet still weathered by the sea. He let it rest upon his fingertips while gently playing with it; the last rays of the autumn sun hitting the ancient gold.
"Do you want to do it now?" Atem softly asked while still staring in wonder at the ring that carried him over the Sound. He sighed in delight when he felt a soft warmth on his skin, lips touching ever so lightly like a feather. It made his heart beat faster and him aware that he probably wouldn't be able to get any studies done tonight.
"Sure", Yugi breathed against his neck and sat up to be on his level, never leaving those crimson seas once he had the chance to dive into them.
Atem smiled and took the chance to give him a slow, but long kiss. He never wanted to hold back when it came to affection for his partner. If he wanted, he took his hand. If he could, he tugged him into a gentle hug. If he needed, he kissed him ever so slightly - and he never would let him go. He savored moments like these, knowing how precious and final those actions could be.
Especially when he felt like drowning Yugi was his guiding light.
He stayed close when their slow dance of lips came to an end. He knew what he wanted tonight; the actions thoroughly planned.
Turning around, he tugged along Yugi's hand and mentioned over to a framed scenery of a painted lake. Once he was sure Yugi saw it, he turned around and spoke very slowly.
" La peinture."
He watched how Yugi slowly repeated the words, keeping a close look on how his lips moved over the syllables. In the beginning he needed to help him get the vowels right, and keep his breathing in an appropriate way - at least for these kinds of exercise - but he got better and better. But watching these tender lips move, saying the words over and over, softly bending in the tunes of the syllables… it sent butterflies through his stomach.
After getting it right, it was Yugi's turn. " The painting ."
Now it was Yugi's eyes he felt on him as he repeated the word, trying to remember how English worked and reminding himself the translation of it - or more so how the lips moved along speaking it out loud. He said it another time, and Yugi nodded. He smiled in anticipation when the true challenge began.
"Peintingu", Yugi said slowly, without accent in his mother tongue. Hearing him talking in Japanese always sent Atem a shiver down his spine, making his Yugi even more desirable. Once he was able to speak the word, Yugi took a notepad and started writing down the word, so Atem would get familiar with the different alphabets, symbols and words of Japanese.
It would take a long time to understand this language - it was so different from the languages he knew. But he was eager to learn, since one day he wanted to return with Yugi to his home country, and give him the chance to pursue his dream. He wanted to support him in everything, as he had promised back on the island.
He repeated the word one more time, before Yugi nodded happily and gave him a quick peck on his lips. His eyes glisten with the glow of the fireplace, the sun setting in the distance, waiting for him to speak.
Atem took a breath, and slowly spoke "'lawha'."
Yugi's curiosity to learn his own mother language, even if it was outdated and the modern words and ways wouldn't resemble his own language much anymore, filled him with a warmth and love he never knew could grow even more. He remembered a distant feeling behind the veil; how he felt the first time Yugi spoke to him , asking for his name, or interacting with him in general.
He was afraid to not fulfill his task in keeping him safe, but it also cracked something with him - a wish of not being alone anymore. A longing to be understood and to know he still existed. And with every day Yugi opened him up more, let those desires came out more until he was aware Atem never wanted to be left alone again, never left by Yugi again. A love so deep it even combats death, a wish from hearts in Union, granted by the river God.
Atem wished he could confess all these feelings swimming in his head, but he still had problems articulating his thoughts, feelings and desires; he sometimes got angry at himself for not being able to speak properly. But Yugi was able to read him just fine - still being able to understand him without words - and if possible he reached for anything what Atem wanted to say, or simply took his hand and held him. Even during the nights when Atem wakes up, rambling and screaming from his nightmares, his mind only working in arabic - Yugi was able to understand him. Sometimes he wondered if this was because he possessed him more than once, and also not for malicious intent, but to show him.
In some way, they found their own language to communicate.
He wrote down 'lawha' in his still shaky arabic writing and showed it to Yugi. Seeing the Japanese Kanji and the arabic letters this close together gave him a warm and soft feeling in him that made him feel like home. He was here, with the one who saved him - who took his time and stayed by him instead of pushing him away.
The moment their eyes met a wave of emotions washed over him, his fingers and lips started to tremble for the gratitude and love for his partner, for everything - he took his head in both of his hands and kissed him again.
The notepad fell from the sofa, the pen cluttered on the old, wooden floor. But it didn't matter anymore - right now the only thing on Atem's mind was him.
And the feeling of his hands on him, gripping his shoulders and slowly pushed him down into the cushions he gladly let that heatwave come over him as his love guided him into the highest spheres.
Their breaths were heavy in union as they flew down from their heights, his partner slowly sinking down on him and engulfing him in his warmth. Atem quickly embraced him, giving him a shaky kiss that tasted like himself.
"qamri ", he whispered as he leaned into him. My Moon. Yugi softly chuckled from this nickname his lover gave him - a guiding light in the everlasting night. Atem leaned into his love, wrapping one of the blankets around them to keep them warm.
His initial plans for tonight might need to be moved to another day, his eyes wandering to the book he found with the lines he wanted to share - but those words would still be there tomorrow. As long as he had the chance to bath in the warmth of the living he would not stop.
For this was the true gift Slipher granted him - to be with his love, until he would meet the serpent again.