Title: Sun Sets and Ra Rises

Authoress: Wingleader Sora Jade

Genre: angst/psycological

Rating: PG

Summery: Two best friends are forced to part when one moves away.

()()()()()

He dropped the letter in shock, throwing up his hands over his head. He spun his desk chair in half a circle, surging to his feet with a half-sob. "I give up!" He stomped a couple paces, only to collapse onto his bed, his face burried in his pillow. How had it ever come to this?...

~*~

Spring was in full bloom as Malik Ishtar and Ryou Bakura walked home together, chatting casually and laughing at small happinesses. Both were loaded down with books and homework, but were in a good mood anyway. Malik was going to be staying with Ryou for a few days while his sister and Rashid were away on business. Ever since Battle City Isis hadn't ever quite trusted her brother again, but Malik didn't really mind.

Freed of his yami's torments, the young Ishtar was very much a carefree and, well, while not exactly happy, certainly a content youth. His seventeenth birthday had recently came and gone, and he and Ryou were going to have their own private party that night.

What Isis didn't know was that Ryou's father was also going to be gone, which left Ryou and Malik by themselves, unless you counted Ryou's yami, Bakura. Somehow, true to his word, even after being banished to the Shadow Realm not once, but twice, Bakura had managed to come back. But he was still sulking and nursing his wounds, and hadn't really bothered Ryou for a long time.

Malik and Ryou had been best friends since Battle City a year-and-a-half before, and it had changed the both of them. Malik had become calmer, less likely to have his bouts of insanity. Some of Malik's less savory habits, such as drinking and partying, had rubbed off on Ryou.

"So what's on the agenda tonight?" Malik asked his best friend, his lavendar eyes sparkling.

Ryou frowned slightly in thought. "W-ell, we do have that algebra test Monday that we should be studying for..." The white-haired teen grinned as Malik's face morphed into a look of abject horror. "I'm kidding Malik!" Ryou's grin turned slightly ferral, and he lowered his voice. "I know where dad keeps the key to the liquor cabinet."

"Bloody hallelujah!" Malik yelled, grinning widely. "This will be a night to remember!"

And, indeed, it was. Ryou broke out the wine at around nine o'clock, and by midnight both of them were dead drunk. Ryou was spralled on the couch, giggling hysterically to himself, and Malik was up on the coffee table doing a good (if slurred) imitation of Yami Yuugi when Ryou suddenly sat up.

"I'm leaving."

Malik blinked blearily at him, almost falling off the coffee table as he did. "Wha? How's can you leave yer own *hic* housie?"

Ryou flopped back onto the couch, staring up at the ceiling. He was quiet for several minutes, fiddling with the Ring around his neck. "I mean I'm leaving Japan. Dad wants me to start coming on digs with him. And it is good experience, I guess, since I wanna be an archaeologist..."

Now Malik really did fall off the coffee table, with a yell of 'itai!' as he hit the floor. A moment later he pulled himself up on the couch with Ryou. "Ya' can't go! No one else cares about me enough to be my friend! Not even Isis. You can't go Ryou..."

"I know..." Ryou said sulkily. "But it ain't my fault! Dad's makin' me. I'll write to you Malik, I will."

"Yeah..." Malik looked away. "That's what Tenre and Mena said when Isis and Rashid and I left Egypt..."

But of course, there had been no way to stop it. Two weeks later, Ryou's dad was home, everything was packed, and Malik and Ryou were forced to say their last good-byes. They were sitting out in Malik's front yard, under the shade of a sakura tree that was in full bloom. Neither had said much, because neither wanted to say good-bye.

"Do you believe in other worlds?" Ryou asked suddenly, without any warning.

Malik looked at his best friend in surprise, and then shrugged. "Like aliens and stuff? I guess so, why?"

"No," Ryou shook his head, his white ponytail swishing back and forth. "Not like aliens. I mean, like alternate dimentions. Like, maybe in one I'm blind, or you're in love with Anzu, or something."

"Anzu Mazaki?" Malik looked momentarily appalled. "Ick. But I see what you mean. I guess we have to, don't we, seeing as we've both been to the Shadow Realm and back a couple times."

Ryou nodded. "So, so maybe, in another world, I don't have to move, and we don't have to say goodbye."

Malik smiled for the first time in what seemed like forever. "Maybe. And maybe in another world we're bitter enemies." Both boys shared a laugh, but it died back into silence as the sun began to set.

"How much do you know about Egyptian mythology?" Malik asked after a few minutes. Ryou shrugged, silent, and Malik went on. "According to myth, the sun god, Ra, rides his chariot across the sky every day. And when the sun sets, he's desending into the Underworld where he has to battle with the evil god Set. But every morning he rises victorious, ready to leap across another day to do battle with Set again that night."

"Nice story," Ryou said, his face and voice neutral. "But what's it got to do with us?"

"Every time the sun comes up," Malik said softly. "Think of me. Because without you around, I'll have to battle Set every night..."

"And every time the sun sets," Ryou added bitterly. "Think of me, because I'll be headed in to fight Set once more."

The two boys smilied at each other, although it was sad, and Ryou couldn't help the tear that slid down his alabaster cheek.

~*~

He rose from the bed several hours later, his tears finally spent. He went to look out the window, trying his best to ignore the letter sitting tear-stained on his desk. The letter that had torn apart his world. The letter that told him that his best friend in the world had not written to him not because he was lazy, but because he was dead. Dead... His best friend was dead...

Parting the curtains with his hands, he leaned his elbows against the sill and stared out at the sun setting.

"Into battle once more..."

And another tear slid down his alabaster cheek.

()()()()()

This story holds a lot of meaning for me. My best friend and I are almost sisters, and I never want to have to lose her. But next year, our freshmen year in high school, she's going to be home schooled. I don't know how I can make it without her. She and I actually did have a similar conversation about Set and Ra a couple days ago.

And what's more, I have this weird sense that someday, be it soon or later on, she's going to die. Someday, she's going to die before I do. I'm going to have to live without half my soul.

But why am I ranting about my own troubles? ^^ If none of you have this kind of friend, this kind of sister/soulmate, then I pity you. But if you do, then I envy you.

Here's wishing you, at least, a friend and soulmate with which you will never have to part.

~SJ