[A look into Kaiba's trip to Egypt at the end of the manga written for this week's ygodrabble contest. The prompt was the Sun.]
The white-hot African Sun was far from kind to his pale Asian complexion and he could have certainly thought of a few more comfortable and dignified modes of transportation than riding on a camel's back. The fact that it all felt more familiar than he cared to admit was not helping things, either. His trip to Egypt would have surprised no one more than it surprised Seto Kaiba himself, and this was precisely why he made it a point not to be seen.
Two weeks prior, he had received an informal letter of invitation; an awkward question only hinted at, but never articulated. He jammed it into the paper shredder without giving it a second thought. The sender's tone – it was probably the other one, the one that almost killed himself in that duel with Jonouchi – sounded awfully like he wasn't really hoping for a reply.
Hiding in plain sight never felt quite so easy. Standing tall not a hundred feet from the solitary stone temple the ragtag group of duelists was headed towards, he should have been easy to spot, but he wasn't. He figured it had something to do with the air of determination, a sense of purpose surrounding each and every one of them, even as sorrow weighed them down like an anchor. Kaiba couldn't help feeling like a precious piece of his life was slipping through his fingers for good.
It was not a matter of fate. Fate is the final refuge of weaklings, he had always thought. There were few things he enjoyed more than denying it satisfaction. But there was a debt he owed to Yugi, a bond they forged with their own hands, and that he couldn't deny no matter how hard he tried. What granted his presence there was that it served no purpose other than satisfying his need for closure.
He wasn't sure what to expect until it finally happened. The group that bolted out of the temple just before it collapsed was one head short. Not everyone could have noticed that, but Kaiba did. He deduced it. It wasn't every day that the earth swallowed ancient religious architecture for no apparent reason.
Once the dust settled, Kaiba felt that he was finally free to close the chapter of his life that healed all the wretched years of Gozaburo's abuse. It wasn't a matter of fate. It was a matter of respect. He observed a generous moment of silence before turning a new leaf.
"Looks like the show's over. Let's go, Mokuba."
"But, big brother, Yugi and the guys are right over there!"
Kaiba eyed his brother in silent inquiry as to why that should concern him. It was the sort of look that asks questions only to scoff at the answers.
"Don't you at least wanna say hi?"
"You go ahead, if you want. I'll tell Isono that we're on our way."
A moment's hesitation, and then Mokuba sighed and gave his friends one parting look before falling into step with his brother. He would never ask what it all meant. Kaiba could not bring himself to say it aloud, anyway.
There's something to be said about choices, but in the end, even Kaiba couldn't deny there were laws that governed them. The nature of gravity is attraction. The Earth has no choice but to revolve around the Sun.