Easier to Run

"NO! LET ME STAY! HE'S NOT GOING TO DIE! HE PROMISED! LET GO, DAMN IT!" Ryou struggled against the grip of the nurse, who was surprisingly strong.

"Come on, kid." He pulled Ryou toward the door with great difficulty.

After wrenching an arm free, Ryou grabbed onto the doorframe and managed to squirm his way out of the nurse's grip. He ran back to Bakura's side and saw his eyes open and close for the last time. "Do something!" he yelled at the doctor.

"This is head trauma. There's nothing I can do. He was lucky to have survived this long."

Ryou sank to his knees. His tears fell freely as he tried—through his sobs—to talk to Bakura. "Y-y-you…you pro-pro-promised! You-you c-can't d-die! Y-you-you're sup-supposed to b-be here for-for me!" Beyond that point, his words became incomprehensible. He finally allowed himself to be taken back to the waiting room.

It's easier to run
Replacing this pain
With something numb
It's so much easier to go
Than face all this pain
You are alone

Ever since Ryou had snuck into the ICU, Marik had been pacing, back and forth, forth and back. He looked up when he heard the doors open. "Ryou, is…" The look on the boy's face answered any questions he may have had. He ran up to Ryou and pulled him into an embrace, letting him cry on his shoulder. He ran his hand through the boy's hair and whispered, trying to calm him down.

Ryou looked up at him after he was able to catch his breath. "He…he wanted me to tell you that he's sorry. For everything he said, for yelling at you, for putting you in danger. He wanted to die knowing that you wouldn't hate him."

"I couldn't hate him. I wish I could apologize to him. I was immature. He was right about me showing you off. I shouldn't have. This is my fault."

"No. No one of us can be blamed entirely. It's all three of our fault. It…" Ryou succumbed to his grief and began sobbing again.

Marik rested his chin on the boy's head and allowed silent tears of his own to fall.

Ryou stirred and sat up in his bed. The same dream. The dream of the tragedy that had forever changed his view of the world. That had been six months ago. He still felt the lack of closure that had haunted him since the funeral. It hadn't really been a funeral at all: Ryou and Marik had been the only people who actually knew Bakura, but Yugi and his friends had come to the burial, too, to try and comfort Ryou. He'd done his best over the past six months to convince them that he was moving on with his life, and for the most part, it had worked. Only occasionally did they ask how he was doing.

Something has been taken
From deep inside of me
A secret I've kept locked away
No one can ever see
Wounds so deep they never show
They never go away
Like moving pictures in my head
For years and years they've played

But around Marik… For the first couple weeks after the accident, Marik had avoided him, but finally, one Saturday morning, he had appeared at Ryou's door with a gift: the Millennium Ring. He'd spent those weeks trying to convince the hospital to let him have it, and finally, they had relented. Together, they had decided to drop the physical side of their relationship, in honor of Bakura. They'd spent the last six months trying to distract themselves from his absence. But all too often, Ryou would see Bakura's teacup, or walk by the mirror in which Bakura first laid eyes on himself, and break down. Marik had rushed to his side every time, with a suggestion of something for them to go out and do to take his mind off the subject. As open as he could be with Marik, Ryou still hid how empty and alone he truly felt.

Ryou slid out of bed and went into the hall. There was that mirror. He remembered vividly Bakura's excitement as he peered into it that Sunday afternoon to check the color of his eyes. His smile then was like none Ryou had seen before or since. It had been an expression of honest, innocent joy. A weak smile crossed his lips at the memory.

He turned and walked down the stairs. This was where he had tripped, and Bakura had caught him. It had been the first time he had seen the side of Bakura that wanted nothing more than for him to be happy and safe.

Ryou walked into the kitchen, and pulled out the teapot. As it was heating, Ryou thought back to the first time he remembered seeing Bakura. He'd walked out of the shadows, his ruby eyes glowing. It was in this same spot that Bakura had made his first pot of tea. He'd been so clueless, so dependent upon Ryou to give instructions. In hindsight, that had been the best cup of tea Ryou ever drank.

He sat at the table with his cup of chamomile. As he sipped it, he pictured Bakura watching him doze off, into that dream that had "not quite" been about ancient Egypt. Ryou cleaned the kitchen and went into the living room, where he sat on the couch. The same couch he'd spent what had—at the time—seemed like an eternity the night Bakura had come home nearly three hours late. Ryou stared at the clock, wishing that that was all this was, that Bakura was just really late getting home, and he would press the doorbell at any moment, and walk in with his mischievous grin and say, "Sorry." If only he'd paid attention to all the signs Bakura had given when Marik came over, things could still be that way.

If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made, I would
If I could stand up and take the blame, I would
If I could take all my shame to the grave, I would

If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made, I would
If I could stand up and take the blame, I would
I would take all my shame to the grave

Ryou hurried back upstairs to his bedroom before he got too emotional.

It's easier to run
Replacing this pain
With something numb
It's so much easier to go
Than face all this pain
You are alone

He laid back down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. The tea hadn't helped. It hadn't helped in six months. This was how he had been laying when Bakura had accidentally opened the wrong door that first night he had a body of his own. Ryou closed his eyes.

"I think I may have insomnia."

"Join the fricking club."

Bakura laughed. "That's the worst thing I've ever heard you say."

"What are you doing in here?"

"To be honest, I opened the wrong door."

"The only rooms up here are the three bedrooms."

"I know. I was downstairs."

"Why?"

"I was looking for the teapot. I gave up, and was going back to the guest room. I stopped a door too soon."

Ryou sat up. He had tried to run to every room in the house to get away from the memory of Bakura. Every room but one, the only room he hadn't entered since Bakura had gotten his own body: the guest room. He approached the door slowly, almost expecting to be attacked by Bakura's enraged spirit. He laid a hand on the knob, turned it, and pushed the door in. As he took the first step into the dark room, Ryou's foot hit something. He bent down and picked it up. "Oh…" The Millennium Ring. After Marik had left, he had slid it under the door so it couldn't bring back any memories. But now, holding it somehow felt comforting. Ryou slipped it over his head. No memories, just the feeling that he'd had so long ago, that if anything were to go wrong, he was protected. He reached up and flipped the switch, illuminating the room, which was exactly as Bakura had left it the night of the concert.

Sometimes I remember
The darkness of my past
Bringing back these memories
I wish I didn't have
Sometimes I think of letting go
And never looking back
And never moving forward
So there'd never be a past

Bakura had never made his bed that day…he probably hadn't made it once since he'd been given that room. Ryou sat down on it and ran his hand over the tangled sheets, wondering what Bakura had done to get them that way. After all, he rarely ever needed to sleep. Well, now he was sleeping, and he'd be sleeping for a long, long time. Ryou laid back, imagining what Bakura must have thought as he sat here, day after day, worrying what Marik might be doing with him.

If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made, I would
If I could stand up and take the blame, I would
If I could take all my shame to the grave, I would

If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made, I would
If I could stand up and take the blame, I would
I would take all my shame to the grave

He glanced out the window, into the cloudy night sky. It looked a lot like what he imagined his mind would: clouded with his doubts, his fears, his sorrow. Would Bakura have wanted this from me? he thought. Bakura had only wanted for him to happy. Maybe it was time to let go, and really try to move on. But the constant reminder of the empty house made it so hard.

Just washing it aside
All of the helplessness inside
Pretending I don't feel misplaced
Is so much simpler than change

Ryou ran out of the room, the tears returning to his eyes. He picked up the first telephone he could find and dialed Marik's number—after Bakura's death, Ryou had insisted that he get a cell phone.

"Hello?" mumbled a voice on the other end.

"Marik? I know it's late, but can…can…" Ryou burst into sobs. Going into Bakura's room had been his worst idea since ignoring Bakura's obvious jealousy.

"I'll be right over," Marik replied, suddenly wide awake.

Ryou dropped the receiver and slid down the wall. He cried until the tears were gone, and nothing was left but the dry, wracking sobs.

DING-DONG.

Slowly, reluctantly, he stood and opened the door. "I want to get out of the house."

"Come on." Marik took Ryou's hand and led him down the sidewalk.

It's easier to run
Replacing this pain
With something numb
It's so much easier to go
Than face all this pain
You are alone

With a hint of apprehension to his tone, Marik asked, "What was it this time?"

"Everything: the mirror, the tea, my room, his room…"

Marik turned a corner, and another, finally coming to a stop at a set of wrought iron gates. "There's a stone wall over there. Let's climb it."

Only then did Ryou look up. His eyes widened. "No! Nonononono! Not here!"

"Yes here." He pulled Ryou a few yards to the left and lifted him over the wall. "You have to resolve this."

"Not here!"

Marik jumped into the cemetery. "Come on." With a tight hold on the boy's wrist, he moved at a quicker pace than before. He came to a stop in front of a secluded stone toward the edge of the enclosure. "You've been avoiding this, Ryou. You have to face him. And I do, too." He watched as the boy dropped down and leaned against the stone, crying again, mumbling incomprehensibly. Softly, he spoke his own words. "I'm sorry, Bakura. I never said it to you, but I'm sorry. You were right; you knew I was just tormenting you. I didn't mean for it to hurt you so much, though. I thought you were stronger." Tears welled in his eyes. "This is my fault. I'm the one to blame, even if Ryou thinks otherwise. Even if you think otherwise. I'm sorry."

It's easier to run
If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made
It's easier to go
If I could change, I would
Take back the pain, I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made, I would
If I could stand up and take the blame, I would
I would take all my shame to the grave


Not my favorite. I wish I could have found a better fit of a Linkin Park song. I think this is the end, but if you'd like an alternate, not nearly as depressing ending, where Bakura actually lives then tell me in the review and I'll gladly do so. Thanks to those of you who read "One Step Closer" and "Leave Out All The Rest" before reading this. You got the story I wanted to tell. Anyway, some of the things Ryou remembers are from another fic I'm writing, Evil Angel. If the memories interested you at all, please read and review it as well. Thanks for reading this!