Author’s note: Bit of a flashback today, mostly because I’m full-time writing my dissertation and I needed something cute to tide me over. It’s probably cliche and toot-rottingly fluffy and I hope you enjoy it! 😉
Oh! About that thing Akefia says about hieroglyphics: from what I could find out there were two or three different ways you could write using them, Hieratic being (obviously) the most complex. I figured, what with all the tomb robbing, he’d at least know enough to figure out hints about the traps inside the pyramids/tombs…
And no lyrics on the title. This one came completely out of nowhere…
Akefia was woken by the sound of coughing, coughing loud enough to make his ears ring (no thanks to his soulroom’s acoustics) and the Millennium Ring tremble. Confused he materialised outside the Ring, hovering in his host’s bedroom. The sun was peeking through the curtains, signifying mid-morning, but other than the hum of the several appliances the house was silent. So the Caretaker had taken the day off again…
Another round of coughing drew the Thief’s attention from faulty parenting models to the child still wrapped up in bed. Ryou’s face was flushed and his breath came out wheezing as the coughing subsided. Still, he seemed to sense the Spirit because his eyes cracked open and he tried to say something around his sore throat. It came out garbled and Ryou winced. Akefia rolled his eyes, because he was not concerned, and tapped in their mindlink.
Are you…he paused, searching for the right word, ill? Ryou nodded, before adding silently:
I think it’s the flu. It hurts! he added, in a tone just shy of whining.
Akefia was not sure how serious a “floo” is but he remembered the box that Ryou had explained contained medicine. For a moment he toyed with the idea of taking over their shared body and fetching it, but if his Landlord was truly sick that might make him worse. Their link wavered slightly, breaking Akefia from his thoughts, and he turned his attention to the boy in alarm before breathing a sigh of relief. Ryou had simply fallen asleep again.
With nothing better to do the Spirit wandered the apartment, entering the bathroom and glaring at one of the closed cabinets. Sure his non-corporeal form could phase through anything blocking his way, but that was of little help when he actually needed to interact with his surroundings. Still glaring he placed a careful hand on the cabinet door, willing it to not phase through. He needed to open it, dammit! Ryou needed medicine and he was not about to let something as trivial as his lack of a corporeal body stop him from doing right by his Landlord!
Let it not be said that the Millennium Items didn’t do their best to obey his wishes. The irate thought had just enough time to form when he felt a strange weight surrounded him, starting from the centre of his chest and moving outward. Surprised by the sensation he stumbled and braced himself against the offending cabinet…and did not fall through. Akefia blinked in confusion, looking at his suddenly-corporeal hand, still clutching the cabinet’s doorknob. Carefully he moved his arm and the cabinet opened, revealing the coveted medicine box. Still not sure how it happened, and worrying it might have been a fluke, he slowly reached for the box and brought it to the counter next to the sink. His eyes moved absently to the mirror hanging above, and he nearly fell over his own two feet at the sight that greeted him. It wasn’t as much that he looked like Ryou’s older brother (though that was still something he was getting used to). It was that, for whatever reason, he seemed to be wearing a larger version of the boy’s pyjamas.
That wouldn’t do at all. Allowing himself a moment of vanity Akefia focused his attention on his appearance. He could feel the Shadow Magic thrumming around him, allowing him to remain corporeal and he let his thoughts drift to what he had seen adults wear at this time and place. He opened his eyes to find that his outfit had shifted to a blood-red T-shirt and dark jeans. Much more satisfied with his looks, Akefia turned his attention to the box, looking for anything with the word “flu” on it. Ten minutes later he marched out of the bathroom, a bottle clutched in his hand. Entering the kitchen he paused hesitantly. Medicine was not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach; that much he had understood from the tiny print on the instructions (and part of him was thanking the gods for the Ring’s ability to at least transfer to him his host’s language skills if nothing else…). But while Ryou had no problem letting him take over his body every now and then, neither of them had done much in terms of cooking. Well, Akefia reasoned uneasily, bread was bread no matter the century, right?
To his relief bread was indeed recognisable and soon he was walking back to Ryou’s room not only with the medicine, but also some bread slathered with honey and a glass of water. If whatever was in the bottle tasted even half as sickly sweet as it smelled the boy would definitely need it… Resting everything on the bedside table, Akefia sat next to the still-snoozing Ryou. As gently as he could, his host looked so much smaller now, he shook the boy awake.
Akefia? Even his mental voice sounded sleepy. Akefia smirked.
“Right here Landlord,” he said out loud and waited for the moment that the monumental change would register. It took less time than he expected. Ryou’s mind caught up with his body and he realised that there was an extra weight on the bed next to him. His eyes opened and he nearly flew to a sitting position, looking at his other self in surprise. Akefia got to enjoy Ryou’s astonished expression even less as the boy’s face lost all colour and his consciousness nearly followed.
“Hey, hey!” Akefia snapped, grasping Ryou and pulling him against him in a half-sitting, half-lying position. “Keh! You’re still burning up,” he mumbled, placing a cool hand on the boy’s forehead. “Where did you even get sick anyway?”
Ryou shrugged awkwardly but didn’t answer.
“Here,” Akefia passed him the bottle. “That’s medicine, right?” Ryou checked the label and nodded sluggishly before pushing himself to sit up –more carefully this time– and downed a dose, scrunching his face at the taste. Akefia wordlessly took the bottle back and handed him the glass. A few sips and a short bout of coughing later Ryou turned to him smiling.
“Thanks,” he said, his voice still a little scratchy but at least audible. Akefia shrugged and handed him the plate.
“You can go back to sleep if you want,” he said, “but first eat something.”
“Ok!” the boy said happily, munching on the sweet slices and looking curiously at the Thief who, now that he had done all that he felt he could for his host, started pacing around the room, running his hands over things and pausing to examine the half-full bookcase next to the door. His eyes fell on a collection of stories from the Egyptian mythology and after a small hesitation he eased the book carefully from the shelf and returned to his previous place on the bed.
By then Ryou had finished his food and, not feeling sleepy for the moment, entertained himself with observing Akefia. When the Thief sat next to him on the bed, his eyes glued on the picture of hieroglyphics on the cover, Ryou leaned up against him again.
“Can you read it?” he asked hesitantly, noticing that the Spirit seemed to be silently mouthing words. Akefia startled, having not realised that he had an audience.
“It’s Hieratic,” he said disappointed. “I can tell it’s some sort of prayer but for what…” he trailed off.
“Oh,” Ryou said quietly. He had really hoped to hear what Ancient Egyptian sounded like. Forcing himself to perk up he took the book in his own hands and opened it. “The stories inside are in English. Do you want to read some? Together?” He didn’t dare to get his hopes up. After all, Father never seemed to want to read with him these days… Akefia caught the stray thought and took the book back, pulling the boy closer to him in the process. Just to make sure his fever doesn’t spike again, he told himself, as Ryou all but snuggled against him.
“Alright kid, let’s see how much these people messed up the stories they’re telling.”