A Thousand Miles
Notes: Everything usual XD The characters aren't mine, the story is, and this is sibling cuteness! Yes, we love sibling cuteness! I apologize for removal of the song, but the site's newly stated policy means that I have to.
A song's words come to me now as I stumble through the snow-covered walkways. The lyrics apply quite well to my situation, except for the fact that I am barely able to walk at all, whereas the person narrating seems to be able to move about normally. I have barely stopped to rest during the last few days, my only goal being to get home, back to the family who loves me. I am afraid to stop. I am afraid I will black out and never regain consciousness.
Now I slip and nearly fall on the ice, coating a good portion of it with my blood. Struggling to regain my balance, I re-tie the makeshift bandage around my wounded leg and slump against a tree to rest.
What are my beloved siblings doing? Have they been looking for me? Am I dead to them?
I ignore the people passing by and close my eyes tightly. I am supposed to be strong, to not crack under pressure. Have I succeeded? I have tried to be strong . . .
Flashes of memory go through my mind. . . . An accident. . . . I was in a terrible accident. . . . I remember trying to avoid the car. . . . It was swerving out of control down the iced street. . . . I think I managed to escape being struck by it, but I am not certain. Everything is so cloudy in my mind about that time. . . . I know I was harmed in some way, but I do not remember how.
The next thing I remember clearly after that was laying on a slab in a morgue, considered dead. I do not know why they considered me as such, as I was very much aware of what was happening around me—and I didn't like any of it.
I felt someone bending over me, prying my eyes open and shining a light into them. Then the person leaned back and began to speak into a tape recorder.
"Well, it seems we have here an adult Egyptian male. . . . I would estimate that his age is about twenty-five. . . . He has black hair . . ." She reached out to touch it and I wanted more than anything to jerk away, but at the moment I seemed to be paralyzed. After stroking my hair, the apparent pathologist picked up the tape recorder again and continued. ". . . And golden eyes. Such a strange phenomenon."
A voice cried out in my mind. "Do not leave me! Not now . . . not ever!" I knew it was my dear, precious brother's voice, and suddenly I had the strength to open my eyes and look directly up at this person. I was not dead, as she seemed to think, and I would prove it.
She gasped, leaning over to stare at me. "You . . . you're alive!" she exclaimed.
"And I will stay alive as long as I have loved ones with whom I want to be," I retorted, struggling to sit up and being angered that she had been investigating me.
Now the woman smirked. "Good luck getting up," she grinned. "It's going to be hard to walk on that leg. And you have quite a few others injuries as well." She pointed to the bandages wrapped around my otherwise bare chest and arms.
Grimacing, I forced myself off the slab, relieved that at least I was still wearing my other clothes. Immediately I crumpled to the floor, too weak to stand on my battered leg, just as the pathologist had predicted.
She kicked me in the ribs. "You're welcome to try to leave, but Dr. Portman would much rather that you stayed," she said maniacally.
My eyes narrowed. "I will not be obliging her," I said coldly.
Now I return to the present, pulling my recovered cloak closer around me. It is so frigid . . . the temperatures must be nearly sub-zero! It is so hard to make myself continue to walk through this. . . . But I am determined to continue.
I have not been afflicted with frostbite, but I am afraid that hypothermia may be setting in. I am starting to become dizzy and disoriented, and I am stumbling more frequently now.
Dr. Portman had tried to force me to stay in her laboratory, and had even sent at least five of her strongest henchmen to beat me into submission. In my weakened state, I do not know how I was able to get past them all . . . but somehow I did. I was so determined to leave that wicked place, and strangely when I did, she hadn't sent any of her men after me to bring me back. Perhaps she wants to know if I actually have the strength to make it home. I wonder this myself.
I take another painful step forward, ignoring the urge to scream in anguish. Since my escape, I have nearly passed into unconsciousness several times, but as of now I have managed to stay aware. I cannot close my eyes, not until I have seen my precious brother once more.
My brother is never far from my thoughts, nor is my sister. I recall their smiles, their laughter, the great happiness and the many trials we have come through. . . . The only things I cannot remember, no matter how hard I try, are their names. Their names, and my own, are lost to me. I suppose . . . I hope . . . I pray . . . that . . . that I will remember in time. I do not want to forget anything about them.
As it is, I cannot call to tell them where I am . . . not when their names have fled my mind, and not when I do not even know where I am. I know where our abode is, but the address is something else I have forgotten. I can only press onward and pray that I will soon recognize my surroundings and be able to return home before . . . before my strength gives out entirely.
I sway violently, bumping into a passer-by. He gives me a look of disgust, apparently thinking that I am a drunkard. I ignore him, forcing myself to go on.
My thoughts are becoming muddled and confused. I am barely aware of where I am and that I am bleeding again. Everything is darkening around me . . . closing in . . . the snow-covered ground rushes up to meet me. . . .
I lay here for some time, unable to move. It is not the first time I have collapsed while trying to return to my siblings, but it is certainly the most painful and the most dangerous. I have an overwhelming urge to simply lay here and sleep, but I know I cannot. I must get up. Somehow I must . . .
People are occasionally passing by me, making their judgmental comments. None of them offer to help me, but I do not really expect them to. Now I have come to the bad part of town, populated almost entirely by thieves and gang members. I do not fear them, however. I only fear that the cloak of darkness . . . the cloak of death . . . will engulf me and I will die here, all alone, with no one to care whether I do or not.
Again I hear my brother's voice, pleading for me to stay with him. Then he is encouraging me, telling me that I can get up. I struggle to do so and again fall into the snow.
"Hey you," an unfriendly voice growls. "You're in my way." He kicks at me harshly and it is all I can do to not moan loudly in agony. Upon not getting any kind of response from me, he curses loudly and steps across me, not caring that I am hurt.
"You can make it, my brother!" The gentle, kind voice returns to me again. "It's alright. I know you can get up!"
I clutch a handful of the icy substance, my breath coming out raggedly. Yes . . . I can get up . . . I must. . . .
I rise painfully, blood dripping into the snow. More of the frigid whiteness sticks to my cloak, but I pay it no heed.
Brother . . . I long to take you in my arms . . . to see your bright, kind eyes. . . . And you, Sister . . . I want to be with you as well . . . to hear your sweet, musical voice. . . . I just want to be free of this nightmare!
Dr. Portman had tried to use me in one of her experiments. She had wanted to see how long I could withstand the pain and torment. . . . I do not know how many hours I was a prisoner there. . . . It seems an eternity.
I limp on ahead, most likely leaving a trail of blood in my wake. Confusion is starting to take over in my mind once again, causing me to mix my memories up and only making things more difficult.
Which way did I come from? I can't remember. Should I continue walking blinding ahead? Should I turn to the left or to the right? Am I anywhere near Domino City?
Will my loved ones still be waiting for me? If I ever make it home, will they be there? Will they still want me?
Will I even make it home? I am starting to doubt that I will last that long.
I pass by someone who actually looks at me with genuine concern. "Hey! Are you alright?" he asks, and I blink at him, trying to figure out how to string my words together so that they will make sense.
"I am . . . going home," I manage to say at last.
"Alright, but are you okay?" he demands.
I cannot figure out how to answer. My mind will not process the question correctly. I believe I am muttering something in Arabic as I stagger past him.
My vision swims and I feel as though I am trying to walk up a steep mountain, even though it is only a normal sidewalk. Somewhere in my mind I realize this, but it's in a place far off from my current state of consciousness.
Automobile horns are honking at me . . . am I trying to cross a busy street? I can barely see anything.
I reach the other side and lean against the lamppost, trying to regain my sight and any strength I have left. After a few moments I am able to walk on a bit further before sinking to my knees and staring down at the blood as it pools around me. I have reached the limit of my endurance. I know I cannot go on, but I also cannot stop. If I do, I will never see those I love again. Somehow I must stand once more! I must!
The name is unfamiliar to me, but I try to look up as a shadow falls across my path. My vision is too blurred to make out who is standing above me, nor can I clearly hear the voice, but I can sense that this person is someone I care for dearly. Weakly I reach out, making an attempt to grab at him before I succumb to the cold. "I cannot go on . . . I am sorry . . . I am so sorry. . . ."
The boy kneels down next to me in horror, trying to pull me close to him. "Rishid! Rishid, what happened to you! I've been so worried, my brother! You've been missing for days, so many days!"
The only word that truly registers with me is "brother." This is my brother? I have found him? All of my struggles have not been in vain?
My vision slowly clears for one brief moment and I recognize the lavender eyes, so filled with worry and brotherly love. Yes! This is my brother! I may not remember his name, but I remember him. My dear brother . . .
I struggle to reach out and embrace him with the last of my strength. He is hugging me tightly and weeping, saying that he has been so afraid that I was no longer among the living.
"Rishid, you are wounded!" he says now in alarm. "You are wounded and frozen half to death!" He touches my ice-cold hand and then looks up at me again, tears glistening in his eyes. "Oh Rishid . . ."
I hold him frantically, certain that I am about to go under and never again wake up. Still I try to speak one last time, wanting the answer to one of the questions plaguing my mind. "What . . . what is your name?" I ask weakly.
He gives me such a look of shock and horror that I realize he must think I do not remember him at all, and I try desperately to correct my mistake. "Brother . . . I remember you . . . I . . . I remember you so clearly. . . ." I try to give him a sad smile. "But I . . . I just cannot recall your name. Please . . . please, what is your name?" I do not want to die never having remembered it.
A tear splashes on my flesh as my younger brother cradles my dying body. "Marik," he whispers. "My name is Marik."
"Marik," I repeat, satisfied at last. "Yes . . . Marik . . . that is your name. . . . And Ishizu is our sister," I add, suddenly recalling that as well. My vision clouds over again and I feel myself slipping away, shuddering in the boy's arms. "I love you, Marik . . . my brother. . . ."
"Rishid! Don't leave me!" Marik screams, panicked. "Please, Rishid, no! We have just been reunited again! You cannot die!" Frantic tears spill from his eyes as he takes off his leather jacket and lays it over me in a desperate attempt to keep me warm. I grab at it and him as I finally sink into the oblivion that has been trying to pull me in for hours.
I do not regain consciousness again for an unknown, but seemingly very lengthy, period of time. While I am lost in my insensible state, I relive much of my past . . . my childhood in Egypt . . . the way Marik's father treated me . . . Battle City . . . my experience with Dr. Portman. . . . I call for my brother often, but I don't know if he hears me.
At last the mists of unconsciousness clear and I try to focus my eyes. I am laying in a soft bed and Marik is bending over me, adjusting a thick blanket. His expression immediately brightens when he sees I am awake and then I become engulfed in a joyous hug. "Rishid! Oh Rishid!" he cries happily.
Weakly I remove my hands from under the quilt and return the embrace. "My precious brother," I whisper. "I . . . I tried so hard to return to you and Ishizu. . . . So very hard . . ."
"I know," Marik replies, smiling down at me. "And you have, Rishid. You have!"
Ishizu hurries over then, her cerulean blue eyes filled with concern and happy tears. "How are you feeling, dear Rishid?" she asks softly, taking my hand.
I smile. "I am alright. But . . . how long have I been home?"
"Several days," Marik answers quietly. "Dr. Portman was arrested again, and she confessed to what she'd done. She found you laying on the ground, having been hit by a car, and then she decided to abduct you for her latest horrible experiment." His eyes narrow in anger, then soften as he gazes at me again. "Rishid, you walked for days and miles when you were hurt so terribly!" He shakes his head. "I do not know how you managed it, my brother."
Ishizu nods slowly, leaning down to hug me as well. "The doctor said you should have died hours before then from exposure to the cold and loss of blood," she whispers, explaining then that Marik had donated his own blood to save my life.
I look up at him and he lays his hand on my shoulder. "I couldn't let you die, Rishid," he tells me. "I couldn't lose my older brother."
I pull my beloved siblings close to me. No words can express how much I love them both. I would do anything for them, and they for me.
"Rishid, I was so afraid you would die," Marik whispers now. "I am so thankful that it wasn't your time."
I tighten my grip on him and Ishizu. "I couldn't break my promise," I reply with a smile. "I promised to never leave you . . . and I won't." Thankful prayers are in my heart as I continue to hold the brother and sister I love so much.