Faithfully Yours

by WSJ

WSJ: This is for Brood Mayran's 'strange couples' contest. ^_^ I read the lyrics to the song and thought 'Oh yeah, that's it!'

Ryou: *reads the script* ^^; You've gone completely bonkers, haven't you?

WSJ: *wide grin* You bet! And what do you expect? It's the first day of Christmas break!!! *cheers* *coughs* Anyway, this is a story that takes place just after my fic Skater Boy. You really don't need to read it, although they do refer to the events that happen therin a couple'a times. Basicly all you need to know is that it's AU (no Items or yamis), and that Ryou, Tristan, Joey, and Malik are in their early twenties and have started their own rock group called the Sk8ter Boi's.

Malik: *storms into the room* SJ!!!!!!! I'M MAD AT YOU!!!!!!!!!

WSJ: *sighs* Here we go again...

Malik: *waves a rolled-up script in her face* HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! THIS- THIS- ABOMINATION YOU DARE TO CALL A FANFIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

WSJ: *gently pushes him away* It's fluff, Malik. For the other half of Brood's contest. You're really cute in it! I nearly died of kawaiiness-overdose while writing it!

Malik: Hai, maybe so, but I'M A CHIBI!!!!!!

WSJ: Not really. You're ten. So? Yugi and Ryou are even more chibi then that!

Malik: *sticks his tongue out at her* I still hate you.

WSJ: *grins* I know. Aishiteru to you too. *turns back to the audience* The fic he's ranting about is The Child Who Suffers. It's, as I mentioned, for the 'cry your eyes out' half of Brood's contest. It's not angst though, I promise! ^_^; It's also really long, and I ain't done with it yet. I'm hoping to finish & post it before New Years.

Ryou: *clears his throat* ANYWAY, WSJ doesn't own YGO, and the song belongs to... Er... Somebody... *sweatdrops*

()()()()()

As soon as they reached the hotel, the Sk8ter Boi's lead guitarist, Ryou Bakura, stripped off his sweaty leather tank-top and flopped into a chair, running a hand through his tangled white hair. "Oi, oi, that was some concert!"

Joey Wheeler, lead singer, nodded and headed for the mini-fridge to find a soda. The drummer, Tristan Taylor, sat down on his bed and picked up the remote to flip through the TV channels.

All three looked up as the door to the hotel room opened again to admit their final member, bass guitarist Malik Ishtar. His head was down and his shoulders slumped. Joey, Tristan, and Ryou exchanged glances, not knowing what to say to their down-hearted friend. Malik mumbled something about a hot shower and headed for the bathroom.

After a moment or so of silence, Ryou stood up and stretched, showing off the dragon tattoo on his shoulder. "I'm gonna hit the sack," he said, getting ready to go to his and Tristan's room across the hall. Before he could do anything, however, Isis Ishtar, their stage manager and also Malik's sister, knocked lightly on the door and then stepped in. She raised an eyebrow at his shirtlessness, and, blushing slightly, he paused next to the door to listen to what she had to say.

"Where's Malik? Is he all right?" were the first words out of her mouth.

"He will be," Tristan said.

"He's in the shower." Joey added.

Isis nodded sadly. "Well, we're staying here for a few days, I think it's safe to say. Malik needs to get this thing with Tea worked out." She whirled around as Ryou let out a whoop, shucking his leather pants and tight leather boots as hurridly as he could, leaving him in his boxers. Regardless of the stares he was receiving and the way Isis was blushing, the white-haired man pulled on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. He hopped around the room on first one foot, then the other, yanking on his shoes, and finally noticed the way eveyone was staring.

Ryou sweatdropped slightly. "We-ell, since we're back home in Domino and everything, I figured I'd go see Serenity. Is that okay with you Joey?"

The vocalist chuckled. "I guess it'd better be, eh Ryou? Dun' worry about it, I'll jus' go see my sis tomorrow." he winked at his long-time friend. "Well, I will if you make it back here tonight. If not I'll stop off and buy a shotgun first."

Ryou's face turned bright red. "Joey! I wouldn't do anything to your sister!"

Joey chuckled again and patted him on the back. "I know that, man! I'm jus' messin' with ya'! No go have fun. And be back before midnight. Don't forget, I wanna see her too!"

A smile broke out on Ryou's face. "Thanks Joey."

~Highway run
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind~

Ryou was humming as he drove his Mustang toward the Wheeler family residence, his mind on the auburn-haired beauty he was going to see. He stopped off at a small flower shop and bought half-a-dozen red roses for her, then continued on his way. He couldn't help but think back to when he'd first realized he loved her.

He and Joey had been good friends for the longest time, ever since they were in elementary school. Joey had been the one who'd dared him to get his dragon tattoo. It had backfired, however, when Ryou double-dared him back. So now both had tattoos, Ryou's of a dragon, and Joey's of a screaming eagle. Serenity liked to tease them that they were marks of stupidity.

Ah yes... Serenity Wheeler... The first time Ryou had met her, he'd stammered and blushed and Joey had been forced to hit him on the back of the head, just to get him to speak a coherant sentence. It really didn't help that at the time they were in the pool, and what Serenity had been wearing could hardly be considered decent.

Of course, that had just been a crush. When Ryou had first really realized he loved her, it had been just after he and the other three guys had formed the Sk8ter Boi's. They were struggling musicians, looking for a record deal, a little over four years ago now. Serenity, then and now two years Ryou's junior, had taken it upon herself to help promote them. She made and passed out fliers for all their concerts, haggled with the record labels, and encouraged them every way she could.

And when they'd all four gone to Joey's house and announced to Serenity that they'd finally been signed a contract, it was to Ryou's arms Serenity flew, and not Joey's. It was at that moment Ryou realized the extent of his attraction to his best friend's little sister, and Joey realized that he was losing both him and her. For awhile he'd really resented their relationship, but he'd eventually gotten over it and had even come to support and encourage it.

One of Joey's favorite barbs was to tease Ryou about buying her a ring. Ryou would then blush and mutter that he was only twenty-one, and she only nineteen. Then Joey would grin and say something along the lines of "So what? Just screw 'er already!" Of course, Joey would have been absolutly horrified if Ryou took his joke seriously, but both of them knew that Ryou would never do something like that.

The very worst point had been when the Sk8ter Boi's had started to tour internationally. For the concerts in and around Japan, Serenity would often come with them. But her mother wouldn't let her go overseas. Ryou wasn't able to call her very often, because of his busy scedule, the time difference between countries, and the phone bill. He wrote to her every week though, and if she knew where he was going to be, she'd write back. On the few occations when Ryou had access to the internet they'd e-mail, and once they'd been able to IM. Joey complained that Ryou spent more time with his sister then he did.

But those times were few and far between, and it was hard. Ryou was usually apart from the other three, and was often lonely. But now he was back in Domino! Oh, how good it was to be home! He was practically going double the speed-limit, just out of anxiousness to see her. She'd obviously have heard that they were coming to Domino, but she wouldn't be expecting him to come to her. She was probably planning to come to the hotel in the morning to see them, as she often did, but she wouldn't be expecting him to show up at her door tonight with roses. It was perfect!

~Restless hearts
Sleep alone
Sendin' all my love
Along the wire
They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family~

But when he pulled up in front of the Wheelers, it didn't look so perfect. All the lights were out, except for one that Ryou thought might be the kitchen, or the livingroom. A shadow ran across the patch of light, another quickly following it. The first was small and petite, either Serenity or Mrs. Wheeler. But the other was bigger, obviously Joey and Serenity's dad.

"Shit!" Ryou cursed, vaulting out of the car. He left the roses where they lay on the seat and ran for the front door. It was a stupid move, but at the sight of that big burly outline, all semblence of sanity and rationality had left his head.

Mr. Wheeler had been in jail for the last several years, because of abuse on Joey, Serenity, and Mrs. Wheeler, as well as attempted murder while he was at a bar and drunk one night. If he'd been released, he'd have gone home in the very foulest of moods. Finding that Joey wasn't there would make it even worse, and since Joey wasn't there, there's be no one to protect the two women.

(WSJ: Remember, this is AU, so there'll be lots of little differences like this.)

Now that Ryou was closer to the house, he could hear screams coming from the inside. With a curse, Ryou banged his shoulder against the front door, easily throwing it open. He stumbled into the darkened entry hall, and heard the unmistakable voice of Mr Wheeler, slurred drunkenly, coming from the kitchen. "Who'ssat? Who goessere?"

His face set, Ryou ran into the kitchen and had to muffle a scream of his own. Mrs Wheeler was unconcious on teh floor in a pool of blood, obviously her own. Serenity was pinned against the kitchen table by her father, who was brandishing a bloody steak-knife in one hand, the other used to help hold Serenity against the table.

Ryou's eyes narrowed in anger, and all he could see was red. Serenity's jeans were down around her ankles, and Mr Wheeler's pants were undone. He hadn't done anything yet, it didn't look like, but he was obviously planning too. Ryou grew angrier still when he noticed several deep cuts from the knife running up and down Serenity's arms and legs.

Serenity's face was ashen, and her lower lip was trembling. Her brown eyes were wide with fear, and widened further when she caught sight of and recognised her boyfriend. "Ryou! Get out of here!"

"Ryou?" Mr Wheeler slurred. "You know this S.O.B?"

"Me? SOB? I think you're confusing me with yourself," Ryou sneered. "Kisima."

With a roar Mr Wheeler let Serenity go and lunged at Ryou, who quickly doged to the side. Mr Wheeler whirled around, swinging his knife as he came. Ryou yelped when it sliced him across the chest, and Serenity cried out in fear.

"I'm all right, babe," Ryou assured her. "Just a scratch!" He dodged as Mr Wheeler came in again.

~Right down the line
It's been you and me
And lovin' a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours--- faithfully~

The cut on Ryou's chest was throbbing. He didn't know how deep it'd gone, but it hurt like hell. He ducked under Mr Wheeler's clumsy lunge, and with a quick judo move that Tristan had taught him, Mr Wheeler was on his back on the floor. Ryou saw his chance and jumped in, wrestling the knife away from him.

Mr Wheeler threw him off with a cry of rage, slamming Ryou hard into the sink. Ryou gasped as his vision flashed red, and Mr Wheeler suddenly had a grip on his neck. The next Ryou knew, there was a hollow clang and Mr Wheeler had flopped to the ground, revealing Serenity standing behind him with a frying pan raised to hit again, should the first time not have knocked him out.

Ryou and Serenity stared at each other for a moment, and then Serenity fell to her knees, a deep sob escaping her throat. The pan fell from her limp hands with another clang, and she burried her face in her hands, sobs wracking her fragile body.

Ryou scrambled to his feet and moved numbly tot he phone, wanting to comfort hsi girlfriend but knowing that, for the moment, there were more important things. He called the police and the ambulance, and then moved to check Mrs Wheeler's pulse. One touch to her icy skin gave him his answer, and he shuddered, wondering how he was going to tell Serenity.

Almost as an after-thought he phoned the hotel. The desk clerk picked up and said in a bored tone. "Hello, Holiday Inn, how may I direct your call?"

"..." Ryou's throat was dry, so he cleared it and tried again. "Room 113," he managed to rasp. "Tell whomever picks up that Ryou needs to talk to Joey right away,"

"Sure," the clerk said in his usual monotone.

There was about ten seconds of cheap elevator music, before Ryou heard the familiar voice of Joey. "'Ello? What's up Ryou?"

Ryou turned away from Serenity, who was still on the floor, and lowered his voice so that she wouldn't guess who he was talking to. "Joey, I really need you to get over here fast."

Joey easily heard the tremmor in his friend's voice, and his heart leaped into his throat. "What happened?" he demanded.

"When I arrived, your dad was getting ready to rape Serenity. Apparently he'd already beaten her, and your mom. I got into a fight with him, and Serenity whacked him on the head with a frying pan. The police are on the way, and, oh Joey, get your behind over here this instant!"

Joey's jaw dropped about three stories. "Are you serious? I'll be over right away!" He paused. "You okay Ryou?"

"Small cut, it'll be fine."

"Right. Tristan and I'll be there in a jiff. Malik's out, I think he's trying to track down Tea."

"'Kay,"

The two hung up, and Ryou moved to sit down by Serenity, wrapping his arms around her shoulders. She collapsed against him, tears pouring down her face. "It's okay," Ryou whispered soothingly, trying not to think about the fact that he was lying horribly. "The police are coming, and so's Joey. They'll be here soon Serenity, I promise,"

"You could have gotten seriously hurt!" she wailed. "You jerk!"

Ryou pulled her closer to him. "I know. But you know I just couldn't let him hurt you. Aishiteru. Kimi no koto wa itsudemo mamoru."

Serenity smiled, and began to cry happy tears instead.

*Aishiteru kimi no koto wa itsudemo mamoru = I love you (and) I will always protect you*

~Circus life
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns
To make us smile~

The police and the ambulance arrived just before Joey and Tristan did. As the two climbed out of their car, the police were dragging Mr Wheeler out of the house, awake, raging, but handcuffed. He saw his son, and his force was redoubled as he tried to escape, yelling obscenities as the blond.

Joey shuddered at this, and a policeman made his way over to them. "I'm Sergent Michael Kain, I assume you're the brother and friend that Mr Bakura said would be coming?" They nodded, and Srgt Kain led them inside. The kitchen was roped off with police tape. In one corner of the livingroom, Ryou was being attended to by a doctor, Serenity sitting as close to his side as possible without being in his lap.

The doctor finished stiching closed the wound on Ryou's chest just as he caught sight of his friends. He nudged Serenity, whose head snapped up. Her eyes met Joey's, and a fresh rush of tears filled them. She bounced up from her seat and ran into his arms, burying her face in his shoulder. "Oh Joey! It's so awful! Ryou and dad had a fight, and, and..." she broke down into sobs.

Joey looked questioningly at Ryou, who was standing behind Serenity, pulling his torn shirt over his head. "Your mom's dead, Joey," he said with remourse in his voice.

Joey's chocolate eyes, so like those of his sister, widened in denial. "Dad killed her?!"

Ryou nodded, dropping his eyes to his feet. "Gomenasai. I didn't get here in time to save her,"

Joey gently pulled his sister away from him, and stepped forward, putting his hands on Ryou's shoulders. "It's not your fault Ryou. You saved my sister, if not my mom. You got hurt doing it, too," Joey pointed to the line of stitches across Ryou's chest. "And that means a lot to me, buddy. You didn't have to help, didn't have to fight, but'cha did."

"Of course I did!" Ryou said, looking up defiantly into his friend's face. "I love Serenity with all my heart, of course I would fight for her! I'd have fought to the death, if I had to! I'd be lost without her!"

~Through space and time
Always another show
Wondering where I am
Lost without you~

Serenity's eyes widened, and she stepped forward. "You-you love me?"

"Of course," Ryou said, looking at her in surprise. "I told you so, didn't I?"

"I-I thought you were just trying to make me feel better."

"Sere'," Ryou drew her chin up and made her look into his eyes. "I never say things I don't mean. And I love you so much. And I'll protect you, no matter what."

"Forever?"

He nodded solemnly. "Forever. From now on, I'm brining you on tour with us, even if I have to sleep in the cargo hold of the bus to make room for you. We could use a female singer anyway! God Serenity, I'm never letting you go!"

~And being apart ain't easy
On this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy
Of rediscovering you~

Serenity smiled. "I wouldn't take your bed Ryou. I'd boot Joey out first,"

Of course, neither of them heard Joey's indignant cry as Ryou drew Serenity into an embrace, dispite the pain his stitches gave him. Serenity purred happily as Ryou's lips caressed her cheek and chin, the curve of her jaw and the arch of her ear, before moving on to her lips.

~Oh girl, you stand by me
I am forever yours -- faithfully
Oh,oh,oh,oh----~

Joey looked at them, half-disgusted and half-celebratory. He wasn't sure whether to smack them both into next Wednesday or sing praises. His big-brother emotions were conflicting gravely with happiness for his best friend.

Tristan saw his face and chuckled. "Hey Joey, do you think you're ready to be an uncle yet?"

When Ryou and Serenity came back to reality, Joey was chasing Tristan around the front lawn with a shot-gun he'd gotten from kami-knows-where. They smiled at each other, rolled their eyes, and went to save their drummer's life.

~Faithfully, I'm still yours
I am forever yours
Ever yours--faithfully~

()()()()()

WSJ: *giggles* Well? What do you think? Ryou/Serenity isn't really that odd of a couple, but for some reason not many people write it. *shrugs* I know Joey's a little out of character, especially at the end, but please forgive me...

God bless minna-san!