A/N: Written for a 500themes LiveJournal writing challenge community and the prompt 491 – When tomorrows run out. This is Jack and Dark Signer Carly.

Disclaimer: Studio Gallop and all associated companies and artists and writers are the rightful owners of Yuugiou 5D's. No copyright infringement intended and no money is being made out of this. Please support the creators by buying the official releases whenever possible.

Warnings: mild sexual hints. Character death.

You Burn Me Away

Jack would like to believe – very much so – that none of this is happening. He could permit himself to believe in this being a dream, albeit a rather nightmarish one. But it is impossible to pretend that the dull throb of pain in his head does not exist. It is impossible to not feel the blood trickling down the side of his face and into the corner of his eye because it stings. (And maybe what really stings are the tears.) He doesn't know; he can't vouch for anything anymore. He may still be riding his D-Wheel along the blazing path, burnt into the ground in the image of an Earthbound God. He may still be chasing after Carly and he just as well may have crashed already. Carly is there, blocking his view; she is right there, closer than ever, closer than she should be, and he can almost feel phantom breath caressing his face. How it can get past the impregnable glass visor of his helmet, he doesn't know. He doesn't even remember that he's still wearing a helmet. The only thing he knows with dead (and he may as well be that already) certainty is that something has changed. Something has snapped and ended, like a lifeline running out and slipping out of hand. Something has torn itself away, out of the fabric of time and space like a lifeline thinning out into nothingness and Jack is only aware of how empty it suddenly feels. Even no longer being the official King, the unbeatable champion (losing that glory to Yuusei and people don't even call him the new King) didn't make him feel so…

Carly smiles. Sneers. Pearly white teeth; black, black eyes with a shadow of burning red, and black, black hair billowing in the wind. Clothing rustles. (He doesn't wonder why he can hear it over the roar of the engines, but he really should.) Long black to Jack's long white.

"Carly." Jack is unaware of having spoken. Everything is wrong, wrong, wrong, but Carly smiles. (The fire burning along the racing path is eerily quiet.) She smiles and the world is tilting. Jack would want to hold on to something, anything, but the ground is a shifting mess beneath his feet and he dares not to look, afraid of what he would see there. (Coals, coals, churning, charring ground and crumbling rocks, writhing upon themselves in the fireless hell the Earthbound god has invoked.) Jack doesn't remember when exactly he let go of the handles of his D-Wheel. He doesn't remember when he dismounted it.

"Now do you have a moment for me?" Carly questions and her voice is ice over seaside rocks and the paper-thin edge of a rusted metal knife.

"Carly." Yes, that is the only thing Jack can say, even now. Nothing else matters. There is nothing else he could say. Nothing else has weight anymore. His world is askew and the sky is tumbling down, arching in impossible angles while Carly stands in the middle of it all, anchored safely by a monstrosity who will be his ending as well. It will gobble him up, crunch his bones, chew up his soul, and spit nothing out. The world will be burning and Jack is already halfway down its throat.

"Now do you see me?" Carly speaks, but her words have no meaning for him anymore.

"Carly." What he would have said is, I never meant for it to end like this. I never wanted to see you like this. I never… But the words won't come and she wouldn't accept them anymore.

Carly's hands cup his face (when did she get so close?), unafraid of the blood trickling down, not hesitant to stain her fingers (they're already red). Her touch is cold, but Jack is burning. He wants...


"Shut up."

The world is tilting, tipping over like a glass ready to spill out, and the Earthbound god is already waiting, its beak wide open and ready to swallow everything.

Jack cannot touch Carly, but she is touching him all over with cold, cold hands; black, black eyes watching him intently. Her lips are equally cold when she rises up on her toes to trail a lazy path of kisses across his neck – she cannot reach any higher, cannot change their positions even in this askew world.

"Do you notice me now, Jack?" She tilts her head back and looks up at him.

Her name is only a breath on his lips and he leans down, searching, questioning… Carly answers his tentative kiss firmly and with determination, and some sort of twisted triumph. Her hands let go of his face and slide down his chest, over his sides, and to his back. Her name is only a sigh into their kiss and Jack touches her – for the first time – like this. He pulls her close, closer, and for a moment he thinks that he can hear the Earthbound god laughing. He tightens the embrace and shivers when Carly's hands sneak under his shirt.

Jack crashes and burns and the world caves in around him. The Earthbound god clacks its beak once and swallows everything, sending the world straight down to Hell. But Carly is still there, still in his arms, holding him, loving him like no one has before and Jack would scream if he could find his voice, but it belongs to Carly now. She holds him like an odd kind of anchor in a tumbling world. She moves against him as if motion is a lifeline, and she steals his every breath because the monster she summoned will take everything else. (Crunch, crunch, snapping bones, slurp, clack, splat, dripping blood, ashes, ashes, billowing, we all fall down…) Carly takes everything Jack is eager to give – finally, too late.

His eyes are empty. His resolve is shattered. Her name is one final breath on his lips. The darkness falls, but there are no stars shining through it and the moon never rises. Carly laughs, standing in the rubble of destruction, and doesn't look at the wind-blown ashes scattering.