Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! belongs to Kazuki Takahashi.
Warning, boyfluff and stylistic oddness lie below. This was supposed to be a one-shot, but it's
up to twenty-one pages and I'm only half way done, so...yeah, you get chapters.
He'd been toying with the idea for a while, but it wasn't until he'd found the quote that it'd started to take shape as a possibility.
He'd been waiting for Joey and Yugi to show up at lunch one day, and it was taking them longer than usual. For lack of anything better to do, he'd started flipping through the pages of Joseph L. Henderson's essay on archetypes and myths that they had to read for English. It was boring stuff, and he was just skimming and wondering how Joey had gotten into trouble now, when he'd found the sentence.
"But nonetheless one can be filled with that spirit of divine discontent which forces all free men to face some new discovery or to live their lives in a new way."
That was when he started thinking of the trip as something that might be possible, not just an abstract thought.
A minute later the gang walked into view, with Joey and Tea bickering while Devlin added fuel to the fire and Yugi tried to play peacemaker. As usual. He'd crammed the essay into his backpack and zipped the thing shut.
But he started saving the twenty that his dad gave him for lunch each week and began covertly bringing lunch from home. Joey harassed him about trying to get rich to impress Miho, and said that brown-bagging wasn't the way to go. His mom complained that food was disappearing before she could get home to make dinner, and that he was seventeen and should be over the growth spurts by now. He just shrugged a shoulder and kept saving.
That was back in September. Over Christmas break he got a job, but had to quit when school started again. "It's bad enough you hang out with that Wheeler kid," his dad said, "you aren't going to start ditching school for some minimum wage job." But that was okay, because between the lunch savings and what he'd earned, minus Christmas gifts, he had over four hundred dollars.
That was back in January. By the first week of May, he had over seven hundred, earning interest in the savings account he'd set up as soon as he was eighteen.
So he decided it was time to tell his parents. There was two and a half weeks of school still left, and he could use the extra fifty, but as soon as they saw him overhauling the bike they'd be asking questions anyway. So he dug up the essay from where he'd stuck it in the desk drawer, memorized the quote, and brought it up at dinner.
His mom stared at him, still holding a fork with a bite of chicken. "You what?"
Tristan swallowed and repeated himself. "This summer, I'm going on a road trip."
His mom blinked again, then set down the fork. "For God's sake, why?"
"Because sometimes one can be filled with the spirit of divine discontent which forces all free men to face some new discovery or live their lives in a new way," he answered.
Tristan took another bite of chicken and washed it down with soda while his parents stared.
Then his dad spoke up. "How's this going to affect your schoolwork?"
Tristan shook his head. "It won't. If I start working on the bike now, I can put it aside to study for finals and still get ready in time."
"What about summer reading?" his dad asked, ignoring the looks he was getting from his wife.
"I talked Mr. Philips into giving me the list early. I already finished them and did the dialectic journals," he said.
"Don't tell me you're encouraging him!" his mom said indignantly.
"He's eighteen now. We can't exactly stop him, short of throwing him out if the house," his dad told her. The man turned back to Tristan. "I planned on visiting colleges this summer, you know."
Tristan nodded. "Yeah. I'm going to get my job at Wal-Mart back once school ends and work through June, then take the trip during July and come back in August so I can get back-to-school shopping and junk done. So we can do that in June or early August."
His dad nodded, but his mom shook her head. "If you go in July, you'll miss the family reunion."
Tristan raised an eyebrow. "That was half the point, Mom."
She frowned at him. "I can't believe this, Tristan. You don't have any plans, don't know where you'll be sleeping, and going off on your own....This isn't like you!"
"Yeah," he agreed. "That was the other half of the point."
His mom had been dead-set against the idea, but when junior year was over and Gary put him back in his old job--but with a slightly higher pay--she realized he was serious. And since his dad kept telling her it was a man thing, she said that the male side of the family was crazy but if he wanted to get himself arrested or killed, then fine.
She did give him her cell phone, though; but only after making him swear never to use it unless he had been arrested or killed.
By then, it was late June. He'd put in his two weeks with Gary and the bike was in as perfect condition as it would get. And his mom had given up trying to talk him out of the trip.
That was good, because he really couldn't explain it to her. She thought it was a teenage rebellion thing, and his dad thought he wanted to be macho and go off on his own, and they were both mostly wrong.
He'd been thinking about leaving Domino City for a while, ever since the day he'd been mulling over how life had been changed since he met Yugi freshman year, and he had realized that he was the only sane person of all his friends. After all, he wasn't in love with a person inside his best friend, he wasn't living with a woman six years older and several income brackets higher than him, he wasn't a reincarnation, he wasn't dead, he didn't have another half inside him, he hadn't been tattooed when he was ten, and his father didn't wear a clown suit. Basically, he was normal as he could get.
Then he realized that he was out of practice dealing with normal, and he wasn't sure how to handle the revelation. So, out of a lack of better ideas, he tried to make a list about himself, but that only made him aware of how much of his life was ruled by others.
By then, the whole Californian thing about 'finding yourself' wasn't sounding too damn bad.
And so, the road trip. Because he'd decided that at eighteen, it was about time for him to figure out his parameters--who, exactly, he was when he wasn't making decisions based on what other people wanted. At the moment, all he had was that he liked motorcycles and pancakes, and Joey Wheeler was his best friend. He was also bi, but so far that stayed under wraps since he figured Miho wouldn't take it too well.
So. He had almost fourteen hundred dollars and a month of solitude to figure himself out; and also to see if the rest of the world was as whacked as Domino City.
He figured that if there was anyone worth explaining all that too, it would be Joey. So he'd covered his reasons while they were working on the bike the last week of June.
Joey shoved his hair out of his eyes, conveniently lying in the shade of the garage while Tristan was doing a last minute check in the sun. The summer was as hot as usual, and even in a shirt with the sleeves ripped off and barefoot--and trying to ignore the way the concrete was burning his soles--he was roasting. Joey had stripped down to his cutoffs, and the lazy bastard was still complaining.
"Throw me that wrench," Tristan said. Joey idly chucked the tool at him, and he made a few finishing touch-ups. Joey, sprawled out in the shade, went back to muttering about the heat, and Tristan half-tuned him out.
He had to admit, he was grateful that he didn't want to sleep with Joey. It spared them both a lot of grief. Not that the blond was bad-looking, but he'd wanted to strangle the guy a few too many times in their lives for him to consider Joey attractive.
"The heat's not that bad," Tristan interrupted. "Ain't Mai wearin' less because of it?"
"Ohh, yeah," Joey drawled happily.
Tristan glanced over the seat of the motorcycle. "Geez. Can you at least try not to sound like you're gettin' laid every night?"
Joey just smirked and tucked his hands behind his head. "Hey, don't get mad jus' cause Miho still ain't givin' ya the time a day."
Tristan threw the wrench back without bothering to warn him, but Joey caught it anyway.
"So, when're ya leavin'?" Joey asked, flipping the wrench in one hand with the other still behind his head.
"Tomorrow," Tristan answered, wiping off his hands.
Joey continued staring at the wrench he was turning, and Tristan was about to make a crack about baton-twirling when he said, "Y'sure yer comin' back in August?"
"If I don't, I'm gonna miss school," Tristan said flatly. "Then Dad'd kick my ass."
Joey shrugged a shoulder, still watching the wrench. Tristan leaned on the motorcycle and frowned at him, then remembered something. There was an old, independent gas station a few blocks from where Joey lived. It'd gone bankrupt during the fuel hike a few years ago--the pumps had been ripped out and the store boarded up--but way back in junior high, they used to hang out there. The two of them had wasted hours leaning on the wall in front of the store, daring each other to jump in the back of one of the trucks or trailers and see how far it went.
Funny--he was supposed to be the one left against the wall while Joey took the dare and split.
Tristan flashed Joey a grin and trundled the bike into the garage. "Don't worry, man, I'm not leavin' yet. I can't go breaking Serenity's heart like that, can I?"
Joey growled and brandished the wrench at him. "Listen, you lummox--" he started.
"If I touch your sister you'll beat the crap outta me, yeah yeah. I heard it all last week," Tristan finished.
"S'not my fault yer too dumb ta take a hint," Joey muttered.
"Wrench," Tristan said, and Joey chucked it back not-so-idly this time.
Despite all that, Joey slapped him on the shoulder the next day, which was as close as they got to hugging. Tea told him not to pick any fights, but she wasn't too worried since he was the smart one. That pissed Joey off, and the two of them started up again.
Tristan grinned at Yugi while adjusting the straps on his helmet. "Have fun; they're all yours for a month."
"Thanks..." Yugi said dubiously, but he smiled a moment later. "If anything cool happens, send postcards!"
After some nodding, more good-byes, a final talk with his parents and his mom asking if he'd remembered to pack floss, he was gone.
He'd reached the streetlight before the access road to the highway when he spotted Devlin leaning against a newsstand on the corner. That was a little surprising, since he'd figured that Devlin was either too busy to show up or Joey just hadn't bothered to tell him, but he waved briefly anyway.
"You're leaving now?" Devlin called.
Tristan nodded, glancing at the light. Still red. "Yeah."
Tristan blinked and paused. And thought about it. And then he trashed all the tentative plans he'd made and said, "Sure."
The car behind him honked and Tristan realized that the light was green. He flipped the blinker and made a right, pulling up to the curb.
Devlin shifted and straightened up from the stand, and Tristan saw that he had a duffle behind his legs. He raised an eyebrow at that, but rummaged under his bag for the spare helmet. Devlin had to pull his ponytail out so it would fit comfortably, and after that they managed to get both bags to fit under the bungee cords.
Devlin climbed on, wrapping his arms around Tristan's waist after a pause. Tristan pulled away from the curb, and made a u-turn into the right lane before pulling on to the access road.
And that was the start of July. After that, things got interesting; but in a saner way than usual.