+ Title: The Eye of Horus - Part 11
(Full Title: Heero Yuy and the Eye of Horus)
+ Author: Vinyl Koneko (Emily)
+ See Prologue for warnings, pairings...

The Eye of Horus + Part 11

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Cairo, Egypt
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Duo frowned. The Shadow of Ra wasn't as big as it appeared to be in the book. Compared to the surrounding landscape it was the largest thing around, but the ancient illustration made it out to look bigger than Everest. That wasn't the only reason he was frowning, though. They were going to be climbing around that mountain at dusk and most likely during the night because it would be too dangerous during the day with the heat of the desert. Duo could deal with the heat. Just drink water, wear light clothes, and sweat a lot, and the heat became more bearable. Night was what the longhaired man couldn't stand. The coolness was refreshing, but that wasn't his problem. It was the scorpions.

He didn't even have the heart to tell Heero that night was when all the snakes would be out hunting, either. When Duo first found out about Heero's near phobia for anything serpentine, Duo had at first laughed about it. He didn't think that Heero Yuy, adventurer extraordinaire, was afraid of anything. But he was. Heero never went into detail about where the fear came from, and Duo knew better than to ask him about it. Duo's dislike for scorpions was simple. They were creepy looking. They were highly poisonous. They were merciless. At least a snake would only attack you if you pissed it off. A scorpion would attack if you looked at it the wrong way.

The sun was heading behind the mountain, creating a shadow that swallowed up the truck Duo was riding in with Heero and a man called Abdul who seemed a little unstable but, according to Rashiid, knew the Shadow better than any of the other Maganacs. Trowa was actually back at the house they were being allowed to use. Quatre had arrived several hours before they left, and Duo could tell that they really were in love with each other. Trowa seemed like a different person when his lover was around.

Quatre and Duo had actually gotten along quite well, which seemed to surprise Heero and Trowa. Duo couldn't understand why they would be so surprised. Duo had a small number of people that he considered enemies, and he was naturally sociable, so being put in a room with an equally gregarious individual resulted in a faster, easier connection than it would take between quieter people like Heero and Trowa.

Heero was a different story, though. They had met in college during their Freshman year. Their specialized courses were pretty much the same, Archaeology, Mythology, and Anthropology 101. Both were intelligent, but Duo hung out with the more "popular" crowd. Duo didn't like remembering these sort of things, but Heero did become his friend when the people he thought were his friends had kicked him out.

Duo thought his friends had liked him because of him. As it turns out, they just liked him because he was good-looking and was a talented basketball[1] player. He decided to tell them that he preferred men to women and they would be okay with it, but he was wrong. They stopped talking to him altogether. Stopped asking him if they wanted to go shoot hoops after class. Stopped arranging times in the library to meet and go out into the city and do things. It was worse when they started telling other people in the school. His roommate requested to switch rooms, and the only way that had been possible was when Heero switched in.

Heero didn't care that Duo liked guys. They became friends anyway, and after some time, both learned of their mutual attraction. Heero got a lot of opportunities to travel abroad, and Duo always went with him. When Heero was invited to study in Greece, he refused to accept the offer unless Duo was allowed to go with him, so they went to Athens. That's where their relationship changed. Duo realized he was in love, and while he sensed the same from Heero, the other had never verbalized his feelings. 'And I still don't know if he ever loved me the way I love him.'

Duo checked again to make sure all his weapons were hidden yet accessible. He tried to keep away thoughts of falling through a hole in the ground and ending up in a cave full of the lethal arachnids, but his imagination kept getting the better of him. Duo slammed his head into the seat in front of him, trying to knock the thoughts out of his mind.

"Duo, stop it, you're going to hurt yourself."

"Thanks, Heero. I'll keep that in mind when poison is being injected into my blood a thousand times over."

The other man blinked. "What are you talking about?"

"Scorpions! They're nocturnal!"

Heero leaned back in his seat, not impressed. "Just make noise like you always do and they'll stay away."

Duo snorted. "Don't know if that'll work as well with the cobras." He saw Heero stiffen out of the corner of his eye and couldn't help but smirk. All was silent for a few more minutes as they watched the mountain get closer and closer. Duo looked back over at Heero who seemed to be scanning the desert for sidewinders. He leaned over, resting his head on Heero's shoulder. "We're too big for them to eat, anyways. They're just hunting at this hour, so the only way you can make one mad is by stealing its dinner." Duo reached around Heero's waist to grasp at his other hand. "And the only real snakes we have to worry about are Marquise and Khushrenada."

Heero eased back, glancing over at Duo. "I don't know. I could really go for some rodent right about now."

Duo's features tightened. "That's really gross. 'Course, that Japanese blood of yours leaves you craving raw meat all the time." He flashed a grin in the darkness.

The archaeologist flicked Duo's ear in response. "I can remember one time in India when you ate monkey brains thinking it was actually bread."[2]

"We can't drive any further," Abdul announced, bringing the truck to a stop and turning off the engine. "We'll have to walk the rest of the way."

Duo grabbed the flashlight that had been next to him in the seat and jumped out of the door, landing with a light thump in the sand. He switched it on, bathing his surroundings in a wash of light that made everything look gray.

"According to Wufei's book," Heero said, "the ankh in hidden on a temple halfway up the south-facing slope."

They ascended as quickly as possible. The climb was easy, not very steep and the only obstacles being larger rocks on the way up. About a quarter of the way up, Duo's chest started to feel really warm.

"Hey, Heero? It is getting a little toasty up here or is it just me?"

Duo could see Heero's silhouette turn around in the darkness, the light from his flashlight washing over the longhaired man. Duo could see Prussian blue eyes go wide. "Duo...the scarab..."

He looked down at his chest, too shocked to think of anything to say. The scarab was glowing a faint gold that seemed to be getting brighter as they climbed. "It must be detecting the ankh," Duo said, awed.

A few more minutes passed, and not only was the scarab glowing, but it was throbbing, as well, producing a deep hum that resonated the atmosphere. A cliff was jutting up in front of them with vines overgrown on its surface.

"This isn't right," Heero said. "The mountain is all rock. Why would there be plants all of a sudden?"

Duo pulled the knife out of his boot and began to cut away at the wall of vegetation. A stone carving slowly began to become visible from underneath. Suddenly, any motion from the scarab stopped. Duo looked up. Carved into the wall was the images of Osiris and Isis at their thrones, watching over the land before them. Around Isis's finger was a ring, bearing a gold ankh about one centimeter long. Duo ran his fingers over the surface. The ankh in the picture wasn't just part of the stone carving. It was the missing piece of the scarab. They had found it!

Duo felt tears come to his eyes; he tried to blink them away. 'All that time of searching, and here it is, right in front of me.' Duo looked over at Heero, smiling broadly. The other man smiled slightly in response.

"Here it is! The ankh...it's found!" Duo let out with a cheer that rang across the desert. He ran towards Heero, leaping at him in an enthusiastic hug at their discovery. "I can't believe you did it."

Heero shook his head. "We did it." He pressed his mouth against Duo's, and the other man kissed back with all the enthusiasm he could muster. When they pulled apart, both were smiling like children.

Duo looked around, confused. "Where'd Abdul go?"

Heero shrugged and started to look around for the other man when a spotlight froze him in place next to Duo. They had to hold a hand over their eyes to shield them from the light.

"Who's there?" Heero called out, hand going for the gun at his side.

A tall man came out of the desert with a dozen OZ soldiers flanking him. "We meet again, Doctor Yuy."

"Zechs Marquise," Heero snarled. "Tell your master, General Khushrenada, that I wish I had been able to meet him, as well."

"You always had a temper," Zechs mocked, commanding the soldiers with quick hand gestures. Before he could blink, three were restraining Heero, another three holding back Duo, and the remaining six had their weapons trained on the two men. "I believe you have found something for me, Yuy, and I'm going to take it from you. You get a choice whether it is willingly or not, of course."

"Over my dead body," Heero spat.

"I thought you'd say something like that." Zechs's mouth curled into a smile. "We'll have it your way, then."

The last things Heero remembered before being enveloped by darkness were a gun being fired, the pain lancing through his side, and Duo screaming his name into the night.

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[1]Don't remember the year basketball was invented in, so if this is too early, deal with it.
[2]If I recall correctly, monkey brains is known as sweet bread.

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