Title: By and By
Characters/Pairings: Bakura/Ryou, a little bit of Yami/Yugi
Summary: This is how I love you. (I love you just like I love you.)
Notes: I hope this isn't too bad. ;.; <3 This is for retraux, who is lovely and amazing and wonderful and asked for this, and I hope it is what you wanted and that you like it, because I loved writing for you, even if maybe I am still sort-of coming out of my writer's block and it is somewhat (okay, very much so) incoherent and rambly and...and, slippery, like it is -too- flowy to the point where it is nearly sliding out of your hands when you read it, or something like this, I don't even know. ;.; And if you want me to I can write again for you, because this might not be what you wanted, so please don't be afraid to say so if it's like this! But I really hope you like it anyways, and I'm sorry that this is a little bit late, and thank you so much again for requesting it. I hope you like it just a little bit as much as I loved writing it. <3333 Please just tell me if it's too awful! ;.; <3
- - - -
- - - -
.i have loved you
(You think you love him like shattered glass and mattress springs somedays. You think you must love him like this because you do not know any other way to love him, because like the springs that peek out of the bed you have had your whole life, he has tried so hard to make himself into an unloveable thing that he has left you only one way to love him, and it is to love him like you would love something that has the absence of all things that make your heart ache.
He makes you cringe back and tuck your hands into your chin, peel your feet from the way they stick to the soles of your floor and tug them back into your chest again. He makes you a helpless thing holding onto something that might be there and might be not. And you know what that thing is. And you don't always want to, but you know it, deep in the place where you remember the faces of the persons you've loved, and the smiles of strangers, and all of the little things that stay with you even though you don't know why.
He is one of those things. And he will probably always be one of those things. You just wish you could know him, just once, and tell him, 'I know you', in a way such as that, he will look at you, and be unable to laugh, and just look and look and really see you, and know what you mean. Even if he does not want to you want him to know what you have been trying to tell him all along, which is not that you hate him, or that you do not need him, and maybe not even that you need him, but it is something so close to all of those things that it makes your throat burn sometimes and your fingers ache. Your stomach churns. You just want him to know why.
And somehow through it all, you always believe in things like fate and destiny and promise, because somehow he waited for you, he waited just for you, for one thousand years, until you picked him up. And one day you held him, and he was cold in your hands, the wait of the necklace your father gave you, and you thought it had been special to you because of that, but really it was not because of that. Even if he doesn't think so, he waited for you, and now it is just about you waiting for him. Because you are waiting for him.)
Somewhere a year ago, a thousand years ago, Ryou holds a necklace in his hands and thinks he loves it. Somewhere now, Ryou holds him in his hands and thinks he loves him, too.
- - - -
.for so long
Ryou loves him like a toothache, like rotted grass and spoiled milk and too much salt, like school and home and anywhere but right here, like shadows and mists and brine, and like dirty snow and goodbye letters. He loves him like how his feet feel when his bed is too cold. He loves him like Bakura asks to be loved.
There are somedays where he takes the long way back home and Bakura does not tell him not to. There are often many times where Bakura does not speak to him, does not communicate, does not offbalance him, long, slow lines of silences that push something further in Ryou's chest. He thinks sometimes that people assume Bakura does not ever leave him alone--, like he is some undeterred housefly in the back of his mind, or a little flea, or something bigger and worse and nauseating, maybe something like dying.
Bakura is not like dying at all. Ryou imagines telling this thing to somebody somehow, and he thinks that only Yugi would understand, because Yugi has had his mind filled with more than just himself, can know what it is like to be completely and wholly and breath-takingly unalone for the first time, no unbroken silences, no empty chest, no watering eyes--, just the quiet sense that you are together, like holding hands for long enough (eventually the feeling dissipates, into this absent, tiny thing in one corner of you, because you know that your fingers are mixed with theirs, and your palms are pressed together like the lovers you could be, and you know that you have not let go and neither have they, and you can feel it again as much as you want if only you think about it hard enough more often, but it slips away from you for a while, maybe while you read a book or finish a sentence, or watch out the window from a train, or look at a passing bird, because them next to you brings something to you, and it brings it so gently and so deeply that it becomes a little something in you, a part of you for then so intrinsically that you can have the luxury of forgetting that it is there sometimes and still have it be there for you when you remember it again: it is like this).
And then, he thinks that this is not true, because maybe it is something that anybody could understand. (Even if they have not experienced it, this dry companionship, this tender and solid and maddening contentedness is what we have all dreamed of, all our lives.)
(Something old in you stretches out its fingers and breathes for the first time. You cannot say you regret any of this, here or anywhere. You have loved him, first out of pity and then out of sadness and then out of loneliness, and now you love him for all of these things and you love him for none of these things. Now you love him because you have forgotten how not to.
When you tell Yugi this, breathing by whispering, he smiles at you, and nods his head, and tells you this is how anyone loves anyone. One day we fall in love with them, until we can't remember when we were not. But you do remember, you do, you do: you remember clenching your fingers into your fists and thinking that you would rather die than love him, this thing in you that you cannot let go of. And now, now, you think for just a moment that you would rather die than lose him, and this scares you, more than shadows and snow and bruises and all the things you love him like, because you like to think you love them the same way, but they are not the same things, even if sometimes they want you to, even if they ask you to with their eyes soft for the only time you think you will ever see them this way. You think you love them the same way, but you don't really. You have loved him so much that, when he asked, you smiled at him and told him you would hate him. You hate him just for him.)
Once, a very long time ago, Ryou holds him, but now he cannot let him go, and these two things are worlds, times, apart. ('He is a millenia apart from me', you think to yourself. 'And I am a millenia apart from him. I will love you long-distance.' Like lovers too young to love, you are too old and too worn and too lost, but you love him even then.)
- - - -
.that I have forgotten
(He says he will give you the end of the world. You are not sure if your chest should jump, if your throat should ache, or if you should shake like you do, but you do. Some lovers give gifts and some give stars and some of them, just some of them, give you the world--, but he is giving you the end of it, and there is something in this that makes you love him. Nobody else gives this to anybody. It is just you, and how soft his eyes are when he tells you. They are so soft.)
Ryou does not spend very much time in his body, living inside a little portion of his head that Bakura has maybe spent his whole existence cleaning out for him (in some way, because your spirit-room reflects your soul and he has changed that so completely that not even the crumbs of you linger, no small piece you can clutch again)--, it is stale and empty and bright in ugly ways, but there is no dust in it, because he has pressed his fingers and thumbs along all of the walls and taken all of the dust of Ryou's existence into himself. (And in some ways, everything he has done is for you.)
Yami, instead, gives Yugi the world. The ripe, bright newness in it, the warm center of it, the light gleams of starlight in their gentle face. It is something Ryou could have had once, and now it is long gone, like a dream one had too long ago, and the wispy edges of it catch in his hair like burs and stick and still are not his. (The things that cling to you, wipe off. The things that encompass you, let go. You are what you are forever and a day--, you are you until the end of the world. He knows this, he knows how much you hate yourself, so he will give you just this. The end will be your beginning and then your end again. By the end you will think, 'maybe I could have changed', but he will press a kiss into your hair and you will know that you are happy.
Maybe it will be like this. Swift dreams of poetry haunt you, they make you pretend you could have something that you cannot. Once, Yugi tells you a dream, things in his eyes shining:)
Ryou does not know what he could have had or who he could've been. His father is far away, but he had always taught him to dig deeper, to go further, to find and discover and become--, and there's no going backwards to that, no becoming what you had already grown from, only becoming something new each time. This is the time and the place.
This is not the time and place.
('I want to grow old and gray and live in all the dustiest places of the world, and then I can see my fingerprints in the tables and my heart in myself and you next to me. Because if I can just see that, footprints and finger-marks and the imprints of bodies, then I'll know where I've been, and I'll know where I go, and I'll know when we're walking together. I'll know how to find everybody, and I'll know how to find myself. Don't wish yourself away. Don't wipe away all the little traces of you here, or smudge your fingers through the ashes, or wander in a thousand different circles just to confuse the ones who follow after you. You're here, you'll always be here, no matter where you go.
Maybe I don't have dreams. I just want to be right here.' You think, once, you wanted it, too. But now you are too far and he is too still, and all you have done all your life is go forwards. He can't stay with you, this person on the outside of you, who grips and clings to you and tries so badly to hold you, because you have worn down into straight, thin lines and weathered away like landscapes, and now there is nowhere for anybody else to hold. Bakura, who is inside of you, is you, has become you, is the only person who can hold you. Is the only person you can hold.)
This is never the time and place.
Bakura does not end the world, and Ryou does not end, and so there is no careful gesture to make them love each-other in the way they are supposed to. No tentative touches, no fingers entwining, no soft eyes.
In the end, Ryou has sharp elbows and maybe this is the way Bakura has found to love him. (He will love you like boney shoulders and long legs and dying, and you will love him like mattress springs and dirty water and death, and then, and only then, will you just love him like you love him. And he will never think of you this same way, like a thing capable of being loved, like you think of him now, because he is still a thing incapable of loving, a lovable and loveless boy who lost all of this one day, a very long time ago, before you knew him, or he knew you, or you knew that soon you would know each-other, when the sand came up to knees as he sank down and the sun was hot and it was a thousand years too soon for you to take him in your arms, for you to look at him gently, for you tell him it was okay because you loved him.
You can still do all these things. You can still hold him and kiss him and look at him like he is everything, the sun and the moon and the stars and the end of the world, but now it is too late and you are too sincere, and you are too soft, and you are too lost. You want to say something like, 'let's begin again'. You want to say, bring me a start and I will begin again with you, and we can live in some faraway place neither of us have ever heard of before, and build new lives and new love, like rebirth, like waking-up anew. Because you have been born twice in your life, once in Egypt and once in me, and I think maybe each-time has been a little bit better than the first, so let us try again, just one more time, and see if we can love each-other, and see if we can--, but you know you cannot restart, begin, because you cannot even try.
You cannot even try to lift your own fingers or drag up your own face. He kisses you then, like it is the end of the world. And you could fall in love with him, you could compare him to stars, you could look at him and not look away.
You really could.)
Yuugi tells Ryou Bakura needs him. Once, Ryou asked, 'but does he love me?', and now, he thinks he does not need to know. (Let's try again, just one more time, and see if we can hold on to this.)
Not for a minute. Not for a phrase. Not for a pause or a breath or an open-ended silence tilting sideways into mouths pressing together and cold fingers and warm fingers and how they could close together like they were made to do, and how they could close together like they were made for each-other. Not for this, not even for this.
(But just for you.)
- - - -
.how to love myself
Bakura has loved him in whispers and walls and glances, and in dust and ice and stems, and in rain and tangles and threads. And now, he will love him like sand and suns and stars, and like fate and different worlds, and lullabies and tiptoes and little nothings (and these will never be him loving you like songs and flowers and dreams, but they will be just him loving you, and this will be good enough, and this will be almost better).
('I love you just like I love you.' This is all you love him like. And it will almost be better. Because you have loved him for so long that you have forgotten what you have loved him like, just like you have forgotten what it is like not to love him, all of these things that eventually leave you, like everybody has told you and Yugi has told you and you have told yourself. It is so strong it is nearly relief, sharp and hot and still fragile, while your fingers curl over your knees and you look over at him, and he looks back, soft just for you.)
('I love you like I love you.')