for the ryoubakurayaoi liveJ thing. ra, ra.

i own many of the things mentioned here. the hoodie is my lurvely schism hoodie (go and look at schism dot org without a www), the dice belong to a game called quest that i owned, and ryou and bakura are stored in my closet. except, well, they're not really mine.


i want to bulletproof your soul

would you like to lose control?

i won't let you fall

until you tell me so...


strange kevlar

It wasn't raining that hard, really. It was only because he'd been outside so long that his hair had been bleached wet and colourless and was now clinging in strands and clumps to his face and shoulders. He wasn't too clear on how long it had been, but it had been a while.

And before the world had turned pear-shaped on him, he would have certainly gone back inside when the gel started dripping out of his hair, smelling faintly of sour fruit and landing on the railing. But that day the sky had been on fire along with everything else, and the night reeked of ashes, of metallic water drawn from deep reservoirs, of loss.

It had been a perfectly normal summer, only a bit hot and more than a bit dry. No one wanted for water but the untended plants, and, as everyone found, the buildings. His was not a city of beautiful new modern structures, but older and more likely to go up like tinder. And with the actions of one careless child he'd never met before from across town, the world had gone up in flame.

He didn't remember much but watching the destruction without thought for himself. He had died once already, died more than once even, and while it wasn't a peaceful or painless thing it had a sense of finality like nothing else in the world. It hadn't been a day of terrified fleeing or of weeping for what was gone. He hadn't had much to begin with, since he'd lived all his life moving around at a moment's notice and occasionally running around from dawn until the lamps gave out past midnight at archaeological digs, doing all the small busy things his father couldn't trust anyone else to do. Possessions became nothing against what had come before and what might happen next, and had only been in his way.

So Bakura Ryou was sitting on the railing of a bridge on a walkway, looking down at the debris and soot collecting in the water and huddled into the clothes that were now probably the only ones he owned. The hoodie wasn't even his at that. He hadn't bought clothes in ages and it wouldn't have been his taste anyway at the estimated time of purchase, even though he had a bit of a fondness for it now, even having only worn it less than twenty-four hours. He had no idea what the design meant or where it had come from, but it had been stashed somewhere and had been the first thing to come to his fingers when he'd wondered why the room had been painted dark murky red and the heat had gone from mere dryness to never having known moisture. But even though it was sulkily hot outside with fire exploding in the sky, he'd taken it and kept it, and worn it when the exhausted drizzle came, superfluous and completely useless and hours too late.

It was about then that he decided that the only thing that could make the day worse was an earthquake. Well, perhaps not the only thing. But the only feasible thing.

And as he finally allowed himself to relax, hood pulled up to keep his hair from getting any more wet, the inevitable question that he had been avoiding militantly all day finally bubbled up in his brain, panicked and urgent like nothing else he'd felt during the Fire.

His other half was still Among the Missing, and of course to anyone who knew anything about such people, this was a Very Bad Thing.

Ryou wondered, a little bit, if yami no Bakura's vanishing act might have had something to do with the screaming nightmares the other one had about cities burning and skies of fire. He wondered and he tried to make the strange rough overprotective attitude the other possessed coincide with this odd almost-neglect, and it didn't quite work. And so he was worried in the distant way that one who has died and come back to life worries about someone whose mortality is entirely questionable. Perhaps he was all right, and perhaps he wasn't, but radio silence was an unusual thing, and Ryou knew his other half was eminently predictable in most ways.

So he waited and wondered, and contemplated getting down off the railing and looking for the other people he knew, but discounted it as a waste of effort. He would be of no use to them as they tried to reconcile their loss, and would only cause them worry about him. He wondered if he should dig the Ring out from under the hoodie and give the metallic silky magic that waited dormant for his use a whirl, and he wondered why even though he had stood outside and watched his apartment burn with all the others, he had heard nothing from his other half. That one roamed the world in a corporeal form, because inside his head everything that felt like him also felt empty.

He wasn't dead, that much was obvious. Or was it? They'd been ripped apart and managed to find their way back to each other, and Ripped Apart and he'd still returned, and then everything had just TORN.

And he'd still come back, even after that, appearing overnight and watching him sleep, with the Ring hanging invitingly from his fingers. Quietly, under the radar, slinking back into Ryou's consciousness, hiding from the world and sick as they came, thinner and more haunted than he'd remembered the other one being. And those occasional screaming nightmares where he clung to Ryou out of simple need to touch something living had intensified to being every night, though he stopped searching Ryou out when he awoke, hiding in his own misery and becoming all the more warped for it.

But nothing had ripped this time. The last time he had seen the other one had been on the windowsill, wearing something dark and hard to see in the sunset light. It had been the night previous, and yami no Bakura's eyes were muted with fear and lack of sleep. Neither of them had spoken, but Ryou had gone over to the windowsill as well, and yami no Bakura had let him. They hadn't touched and had barely looked at each other, but even when the sun sank below the horizon neither of them left. Ryou had been asked to wake the other up if he should start to dream, and he had replied that the other needed to sleep, or eat, or at least have a cup of coffee. The other had laughed and opted for the latter, unwinding himself from the window and using Ryou's shoulder to balance himself. And then he had retreated somewhere to be alone, and Ryou had not seen him since.

It would probably be sunset now, if the sun had not been obscured by clouds and smoke, and the sky was not already the red of dying embers.

Ryou's fingers delved into the pocket on the front of the hoodie curiously, and withdrew them with confusion and with dice in his palm. Red translucent RPG dice, like strange murky jewels with numbers inscribed on their facets. He almost had to laugh. The clothes on his back, the Ring around his neck, and a set of dice he hadn't known was there were all he had left. But he had liked these dice, and his other half had also been rather attached to them, and he thought it rather fitting.

He started toying with them idly, just to give his hands something to do and his mind something to focus on other than him. And as luck would have it, the dice had to slip from his fingers. He grabbed after them, not remembering the fact that he was sitting on an inches-wide railing.

"You should really" one hand fisted in the back of his hoodie, "be more careful when you don't know" the other hand snatched the dice from the air, "that I am there to save you."

"You," said Ryou, settling back on his perch so that he was straddling the railing, staring at his other half in surprise.

Yami no Bakura tossed the dice in the air, caught them, and started rolling them between his fingers. His eyes were oddly glazed, and Ryou suspected he had not slept for a while. "I've been looking for you. This place is remarkably hard to find."

Ryou reached up and touched his forehead. "You have the ability to just come to me."

Bakura did not answer, but leaned on the railing next to Ryou and stared into the river, an odd reminder of yesterday.

"Everything was on fire today," Ryou began. "We have nothing material now."

"I would be careful," Bakura said again, "in saying to me that you are wanting for material things."

"I'm not saying that." Ryou shivered suddenly in the hot night air, cold from the rain but with scorching air slashing across his face.

"This is mine." Bakura's fingers trailed down the front of the hoodie. "You took it with you."

"I had wondered if it might be." A bar code on the front and a boy kicking someone's head in on the back were the designs over heavy black fabric. It hadn't been a hard guess to make. "It was the first thing I grabbed when..."

"You didn't wake me when I fell asleep." It was an almost childish accusation, emphasized by Bakura's fingers tapping in a moment of brief anger against his chest. "I dreamed, and when I woke it had come true." The fingers fell away.

"I did not know where you had gone," Ryou said simply.

"And even when the world was falling apart around you in flames, you did not look for me?"

Ryou reached out and took a die from Bakura's restless hands, brushing it against his fingertips and feeling the distant pain of no longer having a place to call home because of it. "The world has fallen apart around me many times," he told the smoky air, "and each time I lost you as a result."

"You are not one of those people who chooses to exorcise their inner demons, are you?" asked yami no Bakura.

"I am not," Ryou replied, "but it happens to me nevertheless."

"I won't sleep again," Bakura announced quickly, before they could dwell on the meaning of Ryou's words. "I won't. Perhaps this is a nightmare, a new one."

Ryou looked at glazed eyes and deathpale skin, with blue-black hollows of exhaustion welling above the other's cheekbones. "It is not a nightmare, because although this town has gone up in flames and you have nothing but the clothes you wear, you no longer care about the lives lost."

"And that makes it all right?" Bakura demanded.

"You didn't come get me," Ryou said. "I didn't wake you, and you never came for me. I woke to the sky on fire and watched everything burn helplessly and without feeling. And you..."

"I woke when embers rained on my skin and seared me from my dreams," Bakura said softly, the die in his fingers rolling over and over. "And I knew you were not in the building because I looked, and when everything fell on me they searched through the rubble and found no one living."

"Where were you?" Ryou asked. "I should have found you."

"That is my secret to keep, and is why I find I can't blame you for not looking for me. Your mortality, though of a strange tainted sort, may not be quite as lacking as mine. I prefer you," yami no Bakura said thoughtfully, "alive."

"And what will we do now?" Ryou asked. "We have nothing here, no home, and though I'm sure my father will come for me he can't contact me like this."

"If this makes the news in Kemet, he will come for you," Bakura said, weariness pressing him to the railing. "But though it destroyed this city, you can never be sure that anyone will ever know of it, or care." His fingers found Ryou's and laced into them, still fidgeting with the dice in their hands. "But I was first to find you, and I have always considered possession to be worth more than your laws would have it." He leaned up and kissed Ryou briefly with ash-dry lips where his jawbone met his skull, a gesture that would have seemed incongruous had it not had a flare of emotion in the back of their minds that said this one is mine to have and mine to keep, and i will take this one for myself, but in not so many words.

"Will you sleep?" Ryou asked when Bakura pulled away, and kept hold of Bakura's hands when the other one wavered dizzily. "I don't have the power to stop your dreams, but you're so tired that you might sleep deeply without them."

"You would guard my sleep? Such touching loyalty," Bakura mocked in his ear, his long delicate fingers shifting lightly over Ryou's hands.

"I would, because right now you belong to your dreams, and I want to steal you from them, thief-king," Ryou answered, and returned the possession-kiss to Bakura's mouth, parched and tasting of fire and, Ryou discovered, bitten on the inside of the lower lip. "Hic est meus, et hic est meus ut obtineam, et obtinebo hunc."

"You speak to me in tongues," Bakura said as Ryou slipped off the railing and they huddled together on the bridge against the ashy wind alone, as the rain was fading into nothingness.

"You only say that because I used the subjunctive," Ryou accused.

Yami no Bakura laughed softly, sinking to the planks of the bridge and taking Ryou with him by their joined hands. "I take it you would prefer me to not steal you the world in retribution for your material losses?"

"I would prefer that you sleep," Ryou said easily, "and I'll argue with you about your unorthodox habits in the morning. Because you've blocked yourself from me and just about destroyed yourself pretending that you're not affected, and I've known death well enough to not want you to kill yourself over it."

"And you'll not let me go?" Bakura asked. "Not physically, mind you, because I don't need to beg for that. Metaphorically. I can only find my way back if you don't drop our bond. If you let it go, you'd be rid of me, and I would not resent you for it."

"I will not let you go," Ryou said, "and you can take that in whatever way you need to survive, because I have nothing else, and even if I were in possession of material things, I would still keep you because I cannot imagine lacking you."

"Wake me up if the world catches on fire again?" Bakura asked.

"I will."


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