Say Goodbye, Close Your Eyes
Notes: Ahh. Fluffy, angsty, sibling cuteness. One of my favorite subjects. As always, the characters (except for Kasumi) aren't mine and the story is! I apologize for the removal of the song, but the new policy has forced me to remove it.
I dive overboard into the freezing water, screaming for my brother Rishid, who has just been injured seriously and thrown off the ship we were on before he could do a thing to stop it. "Where are you, Rishid!" I cry again, praying so desperately that he hasn't gone under for the last time. How in the name of Heaven do we ever wind up in such predicaments? I have to wonder. It's unreal, all the times we have never been able to have peace!
My hair whips into my face as I continue searching desperately for the one who has always been there for me. He has to be here! He couldn't have drowned! Not . . . not yet. . . . "RISHID!" My voice is carried away in the ferocious waves and wind. Has he heard me? I can't be sure. I can hardly hear myself.
Then I hear his voice . . . so weak . . . so pained. . . . "Marik . . . brother. . . ." My heart is wrenched. I can't forget the horror of seeing him being brutally beaten while I was unable to help him. He had been weakened by rescuing me. Then, while he was too hurt to move, he was viciously attacked while I was restrained. The memories flash before my eyes as I look for him frantically. Then I see red quickly tinting the water. Blood! Rishid's blood!
My eyes widen in horror at the sight of it as Rishid tries frantically to rise back to the surface. He winces in pain, grabbing for something, anything to help him stay above the waves. He fights so valiantly, as he always has. Rishid would give anything to keep me alive. Only a few moments before, he was more than willing to die for me. I feel the same about him.
"Rishid!" I call as I swim to him, fighting the tide. He looks up at me weakly. "Rishid, it's going to be alright," I try to assure him, my heart breaking as I look at his battered body. I grab at his hand and wrist, trying with all my might to keep him above the water.
"Master Marik," Rishid whispers weakly, blood flowing from the painful wounds in his chest, arms, and shoulders. He grips at my own wrists, a frightened look in his eyes. I have rarely, if ever, seen Rishid look frightened. And yet . . . once again, I know that he is not fearful of his own welfare—but mine.
Gently I drape his arm over my shoulder. "I've told you there's no need to call me that," I tell him softly.
Rishid looks at me blearily. "I . . . I know," he manages to say just as a violent wave covers us both. It's so tragic, what my father did to him. . . . He always treated Rishid like dirt, making him feel so worthless. . . . Now Rishid usually does not feel comfortable calling Ishizu and me anything other than "Lady Ishizu" and "Master Marik," even though he knows we love him as a brother and he loves us the same way. If there was any way I could reverse the past, I would in an instant. The last thing I ever wanted was for Rishid to ever feel so insecure. . . .
"Rishid!" I scream as water fills my lungs. I cling to him in alarm as we both fall under the deadly, aqueous liquid. I can't let him drown . . . I can't . . . I can't. . . .
I burst through to the surface again, Rishid's lifeless body in my arms. His blood trickles down my skin and into the water as his wounds bleed unmercifully.
"Rishid . . . my brother. . . ." Tears fill my eyes. "This will not be like last time," I vow, remembering how I'd thought he and Ishizu had both perished in a shipwreck because I hadn't been able to rescue them. It had only been through a miracle that they had both survived that. "This time I will be able to save you . . . even if I must give my own life in order for you to live." And I mean every word.
I cannot understand how anyone could possibly want to harm Rishid. He is so gentle and kind. He has never harmed anyone unless they were tormenting someone else. How could anyone want to attack him to within an inch of his life? It's so evil, so cruel!
I bite my lip, holding back an angry cry. Rishid doesn't like it when I display rage and hatred, understandably, but it isn't always easy to contain. More than anything, I just want to tear into every one of those inhuman beasts for what they did. But I must control myself. Rishid's life is at stake. I have to protect him. I have to save my precious brother.
Bullets rain down around us from the ship and one goes right through my shoulder. I let out a cry of pain and cling tighter to Rishid, refusing to let him go. The water is ice cold, but I try to press on anyway, ignoring the pain that shoots through me from my shoulder and from the frigid temperatures. If I stop to think about the new stinging ache, I could lose my grip on Rishid and he might . . . he could . . .
I grit my teeth. I won't think about what could happen. I will only concentrate on getting Rishid to shore. He will get to shore. I swear he will!
My brother's eyes flicker open. "Master Marik, what is happening?" He catches sight of my injury and gasps in alarm. "You're wounded!" In his typical fashion, he reaches up with a shaking hand to place part of his cloak over the injury. Always caring for me above all else, no matter what his own situation is. . . .
"No, Rishid, I'm alright," I try to assure him. "You are hurt far worse than I am." I don't want him to strain himself too far, but still he insists, struggling with the cloth until he's pulled off the corner for a makeshift bandage.
Rishid shudders as he lets his hands drop back down. "Master Marik . . . you should leave me here," he rasps. "I am only a burden." He coughs from the intake of water. "I can barely even swim at all. . . ." His golden eyes stare at the water. He is ashamed to look at me.
But I bend down to look into his eyes. The eyes that always watched me. The eyes that were full of sorrow when I was going astray and then were full of joy when I finally returned to the light. Eyes that now are full of worry and chagrin. "Rishid, listen to me. You could never be a burden," I tell him firmly. He gazes into my own eyes, managing a smile. "You are my brother, and I will risk anything to save you . . . just as you would do for me." I hold him close as another wave sweeps over us. "If I left you here . . . I would be nothing more than a selfish coward. And not worthy to be your brother."
Weakly Rishid tries to put his arms around me, trying to protect me from the angry waters. He can barely hold on, however, and I struggle desperately to keep him from going under while at the same time trying to avoid the flying bullets and continuing to press on toward the shore . . . wherever it is.
"I have always thought . . . that I was not worthy to be yours," Rishid whispers.
I blink away the tears coming to my eyes. "Rishid . . . you are the most noble, the most kind, and the most caring man I have ever known," I tell him sincerely, resisting an urge to scream as a wave collides with my wound. "I look up to you. I always have. Someday . . . I pray I will be just like you." Never have I told him this before. Always it has been locked up in my heart. But now, when death seems so near, I finally have let him know. It seems right.
Rishid stares at me in disbelief, water and blood trickling down his face. Obviously he has never imagined that I idolize him so. I smile sadly in reply, grabbing him tightly again as the tides envelope us.
I know it's not likely we'll both make it, if either of us does. But I will make certain that Rishid survives. As long as I live and breathe, I will never allow him to perish.
I can barely sense anything around me. The water is so cold . . . so icy. . . . Rishid is so limp. . . . I have to get him to the shore. . . . That is my only coherent thought. Everything else is a confused jumble. I feel like I'm in a dreamlike state, floating through what remains of my life. I remember times spent with Rishid when we were children . . . times during Battle City. . . . I cannot stand to recall Battle City.
"Rishid . . . I'm so sorry . . ." I whisper, tears falling from my eyes. Events pass before me and all I can do is stare in absolute alarm and shame. I did so much that was atrocious . . . so much that was unforgivable. . . . But Rishid and Ishizu forgave it all. They understand me perhaps better even than I will ever understand myself.
Rishid looks up at me as we are tossed about on the sea. "For what, Master Marik?" he asks in confusion, his golden eyes barely open. His black ponytail brushes against my arm as the wave forces us high into the air.
I shake my head. "For this . . . for Battle City . . . for . . . everything. . . . Have I ever been a good brother to you, Rishid?" I rasp, my vision growing dim. "Have I ever truly been what a brother should be?"
For one brief moment Rishid is able to grasp onto me tightly and hold on as we fall into the ocean again. "Of course, Marik," he replies in a tone that contains no doubt. "Of course."
I smile weakly as another wave approaches. "You . . . you called me 'Marik'," I observe happily. "You didn't say 'Master Marik', you just said 'Marik.'" It is something that only rarely happens, and I am so glad whenever it does. It makes me feel as though Rishid feels more comfortable around Ishizu and I and realizes that there is no need to address us by titles.
Rishid smiles as well, then grows concerned again. "I do not want to loose you, my brother," he manages to say. "The waves are strong. . . . I . . . I fear that . . ." He trails off, unable to finish his sentence. Already we have been tossed about so much that it's a miracle we're still alive at all.
"I will not leave you until you are safely back on shore," I say firmly, tears still glistening in my lavender eyes. "Never!"
The wave crashes into us now. I am taking the full brunt of its viciously brutal attack. It overwhelms me and I scream in anguish, feeling every part of my body grow pained. Now I cannot ignore it. I can hear Rishid scream as well, but whether from agony or for me I cannot tell.
The both of us are tossed violently on the sea and I feel Rishid go limp in my arms once more. He is slipping away from me. But I can't let it happen! I WON'T! "Rishid! I will not let you perish!" I yell. "I will not!" Tears splash across his face as they fall uncontrollably from my eyes. He's so lifeless. . . . He doesn't move. . . .
Everything again fades to a blur. I am aware only that I am still holding Rishid's body as the water shoves us forward. I cannot let him go . . . I will not, no matter what happens to me. For though he appears dead, he must only be unconscious. Rishid can't die!
It's been hours now. At least it seems so. Time doesn't pass much any more. I can feel something . . . something solid. . . . Are we being washed up on shore? . . . Yes . . . yes . . . I believe we are. . . . I cough violently, shuddering and hugging Rishid for the last time. He stirs slightly and I know that he is alive, just as my heart told me.
"You're going to live, Rishid," I whisper. "You're going to live, just as I promised." A soft smile graces my features as I look into the strong face of the one who always protected me. Now I have protected him.
I fall across his body, my strength depleted. I am not going to make it. I took the harshest part of every wave we came over. This all has cost me my life. But I saved him . . . and that is all that matters.
I find that I am leaving my body and rising to the clouds. I cannot stop my ascent, no matter how hard I try. Truly, I have died. "Goodbye, my brother," I whisper, my voice cracking. "I will love you and Ishizu always. And young Mokuba as well." A tear drops from my eye and splashes on Rishid's face. I have died not only in body, but in spirit as well. I am leaving behind everyone I love. Never will I get them back, not until they all pass beyond mortality and meet me in the afterlife. My future looks bleak. Even if I go to Paradise, how can I be happy if I am there alone?
I can barely see Rishid now. Shakily I call out my last goodbyes, even though I doubt he hears me. "Farewell, Rishid. Farewell."
Rishid's Point of View
I awake ages later on the shore, after night has fallen. Slowly I stir, opening my eyes slightly. Pain shoots through most of my body as my senses return to me. I feel something wet on my cheek and reach up to touch it. A teardrop. But not mine. What has happened? Where am I? And where is . . .
I trail off in mid-thought, forcing my vision to focus. My precious brother Marik is laying across my chest, still embracing me frantically. He looks asleep. So very deeply asleep. . . .
I blink in confusion, trying to understand what has happened. I remember being attacked . . . thrown overboard. . . . Marik leaping into the water to save me when I was about to perish. . . . Marik had vowed to make certain that I lived. That is the last thing I recall. But . . . what has happened now?
I reach out to touch my younger brother's uninjured shoulder gently. He doesn't even move at all. His damp hair sticks to his forehead and over his eyes, and his long, dark lashes brush against his flesh, making no attempt to flutter open. He is almost chalk white, so different from the deep natural tan color of his flesh. He is not asleep. It is obvious now that he is dead.
My eyes widen in sheer horror. It's not true! Marik . . . he . . . he is only sixteen! He has his entire life ahead of him! He isn't dead. I won't believe it. He will stir any moment now, blessing me once again with his precious spirit. But he is so limp . . . so very limp. . . . "No . . . no . . . Marik . . . brother. . . ." My voice barely comes out, so tremendous is this shock. I hold Marik close to my chest, tears spilling from my eyes.
"Please . . . open your eyes," I whisper, struggling to sit up. I have completely forgotten of my own wounds. They do not matter. All that matters is that Marik is hurt and must wake up.
A gentle breeze blows through, tussling the boy's blonde hair and blowing it over my hands as I hold him. I shiver against the cold, pulling Marik's body closer to me. He must be cold. He always gets so cold in such temperatures. . . .
Rishid . . . I am sorry I couldn't stay. I couldn't control what happened.
I look up abruptly at the sound of the voice. It seems almost as if the wind is carrying Marik's voice to me from somewhere far away and yet close by. Most definitely the voice did not come from his poor body. And I realize . . . yes, my brother is dead. He has left me.
"Master Marik . . . brother . . . where are you!" I scream. The word "master" leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I don't want to call him that any more. It's so hard to break the habit, but oh! I want to so badly. He always wanted me to. But . . . now he isn't here to hear me call him "brother."
I am here with you, Rishid. I promised I would be with you forever. I am with you in spirit always.
Tears fill my eyes. He sacrificed himself for me. And though I know he is not truly gone, he is not completely here with me, either. I only hear his voice, sensing him from a distance.
I cradle his still form, brushing the bangs away from his closed eyes. "I miss you, my brother," I say quietly, feeling weak from my wounds and from this latest shock. It's a nightmare. I'm going to wake up from it soon and Marik will be here, smiling at me as always. I have been hurt so badly that I am delirious, but Marik isn't dead! He wouldn't die and leave me here alone, forced to return home and tell dear Ishizu the tragic news that our younger brother has passed on!
I know you do. I miss you so much as well. But Rishid . . . please take care of yourself. I wish so badly that I could be there with you physically. But I am not. Please treat your wounds, Rishid. . . . I may have gotten you back to the shore, but you are still hurt.
I hold the body tighter, sobbing uncontrollably. "I will, my brother. . . . I promise I will. . . . I will not let your sacrifice be in vain." I must do this for him. Even though all I want is to die and go be with him, I know that it is selfish and I must remain here. Marik wanted me to live, and there is still Ishizu to think of. I can't leave her all alone. I have to get back to her. Never would I want that precious woman to endure the agony of losing all the family she has left.
Tell Ishizu and Mokuba goodbye for me, won't you?
I cry harder, not able to bear making such a promise. For me it will seal the fact that he is gone from this world. Again I am being selfish . . . but what brother wants to confirm the fact that one he treasures so dearly is gone? I want Marik to stir in my arms. I want to feel him embrace me and to see the lavender eyes open. But it won't happen. It never will again.
Rishid . . . I am so sorry. I wanted to stay. More than anything, I wanted to stay.
I am silent for a time, just holding his body close to my heart. "I know," I whisper at last. "I know." Tears spill over from my eyes and splash across Marik's pale face. I have to be strong. This is hurting Marik. It is only making it harder for him, wherever he is. "Of course I will tell them, my brother. Of course I will."
Thank you, my brother. I love you. Never forget . . . how much I do. I'll be watching over you and Ishizu and Mokuba from Heaven.
His voice fades away, leaving me alone once more.
"Marik . . . my dear brother . . . I love you more than life itself," I utter softly, slowly rocking back and forth with his perished form. And I recall what he had asked me back when we were fighting the waves. Though I had answered him then, I am compelled to do so again. "Yes . . . you are a good brother. You . . . you always have been," I choke out. He gave his life for me.
I do tend to my wounds, as I promised . . . and I treat his as well. Even though he has left this mortal world, I cannot bear to see the blood streaming from his body and do nothing to cease its flow. Yes, I had tied part of my cloak around his shoulder earlier, but now the cloth is hanging loose, torn apart by the waves.
Just as Marik and I have been torn apart.
When I have finished applying the first aid to us both, I look up at the vast skies and long to hear Marik's voice once more. But all is silent now. The wind whistles as it passes through the nearby trees. Where is Marik now? Is he going to be happy? I wish I knew. . . . I wish so badly.
It is too late and dark to think of trying to get back to civilization tonight. I know Ishizu must be frantic with worry right now, but there is nothing I can do. I try to stand and immediately crumple back to the grassy shore. Before I can do anything else, I must regain my strength. This is what Marik would want.
Somehow I manage to crawl over to a large tree and make my bed underneath it. I cannot bear to leave the boy's body, so I drag him over as well and lay him next to me. "Goodnight, brother," I whisper as I start to drift off against my will. "Goodnight and goodbye." A last tear splashes onto his cheek.
End Rishid's Narration
I look up at the familiar mint-haired girl as she appears and hovers in front of me in the meadow we are in. Somehow I have seen Rishid, as if I had been having a vision. I have seen him and I have seen his anguish. I have been allowed to converse with him one last time, but now, no matter how I scream for him, he can't hear me. He never looks up. I want to be with him now. It's all I want. I want to go back and be embraced by him. I want to go home and see Ishizu again. I want to see my friend Mokuba once more.
"What do you want?" I ask, clenching my fists as the tears fall. I can't stand to watch Rishid cry for me. I turn away from the scene and the girl follows me.
She stops when I do and smiles kindly at me. "I am Kasumi," she says, studying me. "And you are not happy." Suddenly I realize that I have seen her before. She came to me after Rishid was hurt ages before by the ex-Rare Hunters. So she is an angel then. I wondered if that was the case. But now I could care less what she is.
"I was able to save Rishid," I reply defensively. "That was what I wanted. He is worth giving my life for."
"But you did not want to leave him," Kasumi continues.
"Of course I didn't!" I say angrily. "I sacrificed my life to save his, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but that doesn't mean I wanted to die." I turn away. I want to stay with him, and with Ishizu and Mokuba, but if that is not meant to be, then I will accept my fate as long as I know that they will be alright. But then again, if there is any way I can get back to them, I will be more than happy to do so. Oh! I just want to go back!
"Paradise cannot truly be a Paradise without loved ones," Kasumi tells me. She seems to read my thoughts. And she seems to understand at least a small portion of the agony I am going through. She is so compassionate. . . .
Slowly I turn back. "What are you saying?" I demand. A flicker of hope comes into my eyes. Perhaps . . . I can again see the ones I love? I can again be with them?
Kasumi says nothing more, only closing her eyes and whispering something under her breath. Her long hair billows out behind her as she brings her hands together in a praying manner.
I feel myself rising into the air once more. Again I have no control over it.
"Goodbye, Marik Ishtar," Kasumi calls after me. "It was not your time to die."
With a tremendous thump that startles Rishid awake I find myself back in my body. I lay in stunned silence for several moments and then slowly raise my hand to stare at it, unable to believe what is happening. My hand is solid again, not transparent! I touch my face, my injured shoulder, and the grass around me, making certain that this is real. My shoulder is paining me again. My whole body aches, but I can feel it! I have been returned to life, my one wish granted to me!
"I am back," I whisper, and suddenly I am overcome by a coughing fit as the water I'd swallowed hours earlier pours from my mouth. I must have swallowed half the blasted ocean!
Rishid bolts upright at the noise and goes pale, staring over at me with wide eyes. "Marik?" he says softly, afraid to believe what he sees. He clutches at the blades of grass, wanting more than anything to hug me but not wanting to discover that it's only a cruel illusion.
I look up at him and smile, shuddering as the last of the water drains from my lungs. "Hello," I say, pulling myself into a sitting position as well and managing a weak wave. In the next instant I am flying into his arms, unable to contain my emotions, nor wanting to. "RISHID!"
Rishid meets me halfway, immediately pulling me into a strong embrace. "My brother . . . you are back! You are back!" he says in awe and astonishment, tears of joy falling from his eyes. "It is too wonderful . . . too impossible to be true! You . . . you were dead! I know you were dead!" He shakes his head, holding me closer and burying his face in my hair. He is crying tears of joy. "But now . . . now you have returned." His voice is soft now, almost reverent.
I hug him tightly, enjoying being enveloped in his arms. This is what I had longed for so badly. What I had prayed for. And now it's happening. I am back. At last I am back with those I cherish. "Rishid . . ." I snuggle closer and gaze up at him. "We made it, my brother. We both made it." I feel so joyous! I could never be happy if I didn't have my precious siblings with me. Kasumi is right.
Rishid nods shakily, unable to speak. At last he says quietly, "Words are so inadequate now, but . . . I want to thank you, my brother. Thank you." He pauses. "I thank you for today . . . for what you did to save me. . . . For always being my brother. . . ." He looks into my eyes. "And for coming back to me." Another tear glistens and falls.
I smile and lay a hand on his shoulder. "I couldn't leave, Rishid," I reply, hugging him again and saying silent thank Yous of my own. "I couldn't."