Summary: The meeting isn't the beginning; the parting is not the end… Witness how a simple friendship blooms into love. And prove to yourself that no matter how far your feet go, your heart will take you back to the Cherry Road.

Disclaimer: I own this story and its title, not the characters, not yu-gi-oh, not even the PC I used to upload this!

Hunter K: This is kinda late... When was my last update? Will they meet again? Find out n

Warning: Shounen-ai! RyouxMalik

Last Chapter: Malik had no choice; he has to face the destiny that was long been laid by his ancestors…

The Cherry Road:
where souls meet and part
By Hunter K


Chapter 9: When Forever Seems to End

Tension fills the air. No one dared to speak. Their lives were both at stake, yet no one wants to concede, because conceding means accepting your death.

The chamber that was once scantily lighted is now heavily decorated with beams from the attacks of the monsters. Every so often, the duelists cringe to the acrimony of the attack, but didn't show bereavement, just pure hatred and determination.

And after an eternity of struggling for dominance and existence, alas, the conclusion was finalized. And the finale was…

"PENALTY GAME!"

-…-…-

The blowing wind sent chills down the silver-haired teen's spine, making him involuntarily hug his knees close to his chest. The morning haze embraced him yet he never felt the comfort, only the longing to be embraced by someone warmer, livelier. He leaned closer to the base of the Cherry tree, at the exact spot where Malik used to sit on their spare time, hoping that the only place linking him and Malik could protect him from the chill of loneliness. He tilted his face upwards, noticing the cascading white from the gloomy heavens above – finally, it was beginning to snow.

To Ryou, the snow was comforting. It covers everything, hiding things from the surface as if they didn't even exist, blanketing all bad memories with purity and serenity. Closing his eyes, Ryou tried to reminisce all the moments, the memories he and Malik treasured for half a year, under the comfort of the soothing snow. Just thinking of his friend makes him volatile and he wanted to cry. But whenever he felt like it, he just closed his eyes and recalls all the things they have gone through. And most of all, he kept on repeating Malik's words in his mind…

"I promise to be back…"

But each time he remembers the next line, he just can't help but cry.

"…but I don't know when."

He opened his palm, watching as a single flake of snow cascade and settle on the center of it and how the thing melted so fast. Just the same as their friendship: an abrupt magnificent thing, only to last for an instant and suddenly disappear. He forced a smile and thought: "Another game of nature…"

Ryou draw his bag on his shoulder before running on his way to the school. He is beginning to loathe the snow. The small white flakes are starting to veil almost everything, leaving just a plain white nothingness… much as time is reducing to his memories to naught.

"Malik…", Ryou whispered, his voice not a notch louder than the soft blow of the wind. He closed his eyes, trying to visualize his friend. His purple eyes that sparkles like amethysts when he laughs and mysterious as wine when he is solemn. The pale blonde of his hair almost sand-like yet incredibly matching his bronzed skin. His lips…

Ryou bit his lips as the image of Malik that he had just formed blurred into just a shade of lavender and gold. The teen shook his head. He was beginning to forget…

"But it was just past a year!", he mentally argued.

Tears started to blur his vision when he opened his eyes. He continued to walk, not bothering the tears that are threatening to escape. Instead, he focused on recalling his friend's voice.

"I promise to be back", the words were uttered in a low serious tone, the tone of devotion and sincerity.

"But I don't know…" the sound seemed to fade away. It sounded distant and dying… until all that are left were mere unuttered words.

Ryou wanted to cry. He wanted to bang his head on something. In case it could help him remember the things he shouldn't forget. He didn't. He just ran. Ran from the haunting words that cannot long be heard, let alone to be trusted.

As he hoists his speed the snow continued to mock, falling in big heavy flakes accompanied by harsh winds. The skies, already dark, turned darker. Silvery-white locks mingled with the snow frozen air, waving wildly in all directions. Seeing seemed to be almost hopeless. All he can distinguish are flecks of white, dancing wildly like overly energetic kids on a playground. He cared not on the way he takes. He just wanted to run away. He ran until he bumped into something…

"Hey! Watch where you're going!", a familiar voice chided.

"S-sorry…", Ryou said, surprised. He was on his back, the snow melting under his hands and behind. Not wanting get soaked, he got on his feet after slipping a few times.

"If it isn't little Ryou Bakura here…", another familiar voice said. Ryou needn't look. He recognized them all – Jou's gang. He didn't feel the growing fear that he used to experience. He was numb with solitude and grief. That alone can surpass fear and leave it unfelt.

Tristan pulled him by the shirt collar. And the gang hauled him to God knows where. He didn't care about that anyway.

Ryou's tears fell silently. He cried not because he was being hurt. He cried not because he was helpless. He cried because he knew that no one would be there to save him.

Tristan pushed him forward, making him trip and fall on his face. All he saw was the fluffy white that melted on his face and a pair of boots. He closed his eyes and prepared for the impact of the kick, but it didn't come.

The time he opened his eyes, flashes of light blinded him. The snowstorm came to an end, and the sun is brilliantly high on the pale blue sky. He blinked once and stared up. Pained chocolate met warm mauve. He blinked again, making sure his eyes are not fooling him. He even started to question his sanity by the moment when soft, feathery, yet powerful voice reached his ears, "Bakura?"

His heart faltered. That voice. "M-Malik?"

"Yes?"

Unshed tears filled his eyes. He had proven himself wrong. He felt so guilty. He is not worth his trust. He cuddles on the Malik's warm chest, whimpering words of guilt, while the other patted his head.

He had proven that two strong winds drive a storm. If one of the winds fails, the storm is gone.

If he keeps on having faith and the other keep true to his promise, eternity is just a step away, from two believing hearts…

-owari-

WOW END!


AN:
I wanted to title this, "Memory loss Ryou" but that sounds kinda horrible for an epilogue so I changed it to something more attractive. The "forever"-idea came from the first chapter…

Why is this chapter so distressing? (nyao n.n) I'm listening to the Weiss Kreuz soundtrack (which seems to be so dramatic…) plus the sky's gloomy and it's drizzling… and "Beautiful Alone" is playing … SWOONS

Special Thanks:

To all my constant reviewers nn; Flammie!(aka fear of falling), for the inspirations.

To everyone who read up to the last chapter…

To Takahashi-sama, who let me borrow his children for a while nn;

Please Review. It won't hurt if you tell me what you like and what you don't like in the story, the way of writing. Questions…

And watch out for the sequel… Most questions will be answered there.

I accept Pocky (only chocolate flavoured ones... I'm picky)! If you really like my story and a sequel, that is... Actually, I posted this not regarding if the reviews reached +20... As long as I can write to make my readers happy, I'll keep on writing.