Disclaimer: Y'all giving me WAYYYYY too much credit if you think I own these characters, but if you have to hear it from the horse's mouth, no, I don't own "Yu-Gi-Oh!" or any of the characters associated with it.
Author's Note: I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwww I'm sorryyyyyyyyyyy. It's been ages since an update and then I had a one-shot idea for the Danny Phantom fandom and I didn't follow up with this and I'm sorry! But I think you'll really like this one guys and maybe it'll make up for my little hiatus? Hopefully? Yes, let's go with that. In any case, lots of heavy emotions here and it's one of my favorite chapters thus far. Lots of complicated things going on between our main characters in this one - ah the joys of being an adult and not having other adults out telling you what you should do… when you actually want them to do so! So let's get right to it shall we? Yes? Okay, let's go! :D
None today, but a cultural note instead.
We learned back in chapter 23 that 'okyaku-sama' means a customer. In this chapter, Joey will make a joke that refers to the Japanese philosophy of a customer being like "god-like" in a transaction, thus the addition of 'sama' to the end of the word itself along with the 'o' at the beginning of the word, both of which add weight and significance.
And of course, today's chapter title means "Don't look" or "Don't see" in a request, or more appropriately, in a demand like manner (as there's no 'please' in there).
"Sometimes I try to hide what I feel inside,
And I turn around, you're with him now,
I just can't figure it out.
Tell me why you're so hard to forget,
Don't remind me, I'm not over it,
Tell me why I can't seem to face the truth,
I'm just a little too not over you."
- "A Little Too Not Over You" by David Archuleta
Chapter Thirty-Three: 見ないで (Minai De)
Mokuba sat staring at the question. #36.
Translate the following into German: Slowly pour 26 ounces of melted chocolate into the mixture.
What on earth even... While he was well aware of the fact that Seto wanted him taking German, he was not aware as to why he had to be able to translate a German Chocolate Cake recipe into German when the Germans probably knew how to make better German Chocolate Cake than he did.
He blinked and looked up. His teacher was sitting at his desk, lazily it seemed reading a magazine. He was the only other person in the room. This happened often. Being rather frequently pulled out of school had both its merits and drawbacks. One merit was that he sometimes missed tests. One drawback was that he often had to make them up.
He sighed, picking up his pencil and beginning to try to muddle his way through the question. At least he knew Schokolade, so that was a start wasn't it-
Mokuba sat up in his seat like a gun shot had gone off, as did his teacher. Spinning around to the door, he found his brother, glaring at him.
But Seto's attention turned to Mokuba's teacher, who looked positively afright, "Why are you keeping my brother past normal club hours?"
"At least let him call me to let me know so I don't sit outside waiting for an eternity wasting gas," Seto snarled, "Come on, Mokuba."
"But... Seto, I-"
"Come on, Mokuba," Seto repeated, moving to leave.
"Seto, I'm taking a test!"
Seto stopped abruptly and turned around to see his brother, who was clearly red in the face - with embarrassment or rage... Seto wasn't quite sure.
"The German test I missed the other day, I'm retaking it," Mokuba elaborated, "Remember?"
"I told you about it; after soccer today, I had to retake my test," Mokuba told him, "Did you forget?"
The two brother's eyes locked and instantly, Mokuba knew that he was right. Seto had forgotten. His older brother seemed to figure this out at exactly the same time. His lips thinned and he turned.
"Just call me when you're out," He demanded sharply before shutting the door on both Mokuba and his teacher, the latter of whom almost look pale enough to wet himself.
Mokuba glanced over, "Sorry."
The teacher said nothing, merely waving his hand to signal to Mokuba to sit down, which he did. Staring back at the test, Mokuba found himself suddenly unable to focus. What even was that? When had Seto ever... He had texted him right? He couldn't remember and didn't dare check for fear of being disqualified by his teacher. Though to be fair, his teacher was likely just glad Seto was gone...
Gone. That seemed to be a good word for it. Because that's what Seto always seemed to be these days. Gone. Not physically but... perhaps mentally. He was forgetting things, not bothering to stay on top of them. Even when Seto dueled in the simulators, which he was also doing a lot of lately, his brother seemed just... gone. Not really there. And it wasn't like Seto's streak of... failures didn't point to that conclusion as well.
He winced. They hadn't been pretty, those duels. Sure, the simulations could be set to 'Exponential' and that was always Seto's go-to mode these days, right below a newly integrated and untested mode they were working on, but... that was it. He could beat those settings. So the fact that he wasn't... Mokuba gazed outside, seeing no sight of his brother. There was nothing. Nothing at all.
Kisara sighed, leaning against the wall of the De Maru Eki, clutching a small purse. Barely noticing the passers by, she felt her eyes resting on the tall clock in the center of the station. Tea had once said it reminded her of the time she had gone to "Grand Central Station" in New York City, a full ocean and continent away, and that the clock here reminded her of that. It was taller than that clock, just not as 'grand'...
The word lingered in her mind. She'd like to see it too...
"Hey gorgeous," Came the compliment out of nowhere.
Again, Kisara found herself jumping to look up at Joey again, she let a smile escape even as she relaxed her shoulders again, "Oh, hi Joey."
Looking him over, she found herself surprised to see that he seemed... rather cleaned up. He was wearing a nice pair of slacks, not jeans like he usually wore and a white button up, with the top unbuttoned, but everything else... he even looked like he had bothered to brush his hair. She felt slightly guilty for not complimenting him right away after he had her... and she had barely done anything to look nice today.
"Hey," He said, "How much was your ticket here? I'll reimburse you, my treat."
"Oh, uh, I used a Suica, so, uh, I don't know..."
"Well then... uh, I'll treat you on the way back," Joey said awkwardly, "Come on, let's go."
Nodding, Kisara walked out beside him to the open mall area. The area wasn't packed like one would expect it to be on a Saturday, but it wasn't empty either. She looked around the various shops, glittering like gold.
"So... where do you wanna go first?" Joey asked, "Anywhere in particular?"
Kisara shrugged, "Um... not really... any ideas?"
Joey pursed his lips and nodded with a smile, "I might have a few."
Idiot. Such an idiot. He'd known that. He'd known that Mokuba had had a test. Why on earth... a person cut him off and he had to quickly break to keep from getting into an accident. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, when, releasing a sound of rage, he sped off to the side of the road and stopped the car abruptly. Getting out, he slammed the car door shut and walked off. He didn't really care if he got a ticket. Or towed. He'd get the police officer who dared to do that to him fired.
That was what it meant to be a Kaiba.
Pushing past people as he walked, the young genius found it increasingly difficult to do so as the number of people increased. Finally, he moved to the side and stopped, finding himself utterly irritated with the existence of other human beings. He let out a breath he felt that he'd been holding for a while and a sneer covered his features. Definitely time for a new plagu-
His thoughts stopped as he looked up. There in the window of the Doutor café inside the mall... a young woman with long white hair facing away from him. That couldn't... Seto shook his head. It couldn't be her. Even if it was, what did he care? But for some reason, his legs wouldn't move. He glanced back up again. The woman turned her head slightly. It was her. Kisara. He turned away, a bubbling feeling swelling in his chest that he couldn't quite place. It was so... he snuck one more glance.
How could she be so nonchalant? The lying... but he couldn't even manage to think it. It gave him the sensation that there was a black oil in his mouth. But why... how could she be so possibly... alright with all of this? Just having brunch out like nothing had happened?
Turning and pushing his way through the crowd, Seto found himself almost without his permission moving towards the entrance of the mall and thus, Doutor. Without his own permission... it bothered him. But then again, everything bothered him.
Sitting inside Doutor, Kisara waited for Joey to bring back their brunch. It didn't take long though until she saw the bleach-blonde coming back with a tray carrying a toasted bagel sandwich and BLT. He grinned like a dope and Kisara couldn't help but return the smile.
"So... how's Tea doing?" Joey asked awkwardly as he sat down.
Kisara shrugged, "She's fine. The same."
"She say anything about getting a steady job?" Joey asked.
"Um... not really, just lessons..." Kisara said trailing off.
Joey nodded, "I think she's holding off until after Yug leaves."
"What makes you say that?" Kisara asked.
"Well... come on, you've seen the two of them, not like it isn't obvious that they've both got something for each other," Joey said, taking a bite of his BLT.
Kisara smiled, "Yeah, it's pretty obvious. Do you know if they've ever talked about it to one another?"
"Naw, but Yug's oblivious and Tea's too shy," Joey told her.
"Tea? Shy?" Kisara questioned.
"Yeah, 'bout some things anyway. To be fair, I think she also might have had a thing for Atem when he was around... probably was really confusing," Joey explained, "We didn't know there were two of 'em, ya see. Two souls inside of Yugi, you know? He hid it from us at first. But it's hard to not notice something after a while..."
Kisara nodded, when a question came to mind, "So uh... what was Pharaoh like?"
Joey's eyes glanced up at the ceiling, before looking back at her after thinking, "He was a lot like Yugi, just... more direct."
"Not as afraid?" Kisara filled in.
"Hmm... more like not as timid," Joey told her, "He was afraid at times. He was afraid when he thought he was going to lose someone important. Yug... I hate to say it, but I kinda used to bully him a bit when we were younger. He never really had any friends before us. And I don't know, I was young and stupid and took out my own issues on him."
"How did you become friends then?" Kisara asked.
"He stood up for us," Joey told her simply, "We didn't deserve it, but... and I guess that's where Yug and Atem were really similar, they both were really convicted, ya know? Even if they were afraid of something, they both would stand up for their friends, even their 'friends' were jerks..."
Kisara smiled, "Sounds nice..."
"Yeah... it was..." Joey said trailing off, "Does this... I don't know, it doesn't ring any bells?"
Kisara shook her head, "Not really..."
She took a bite of her bagel as Joey swallowed a bite of his BLT and playful chastised her, "Don't you go beating yourself up over things now. That's my job. Honestly, Atem had the same problem. He knew he was a Pharaoh, but he didn't know much of anything else about himself. Yugi said it drove him mad at first, but as they learned more about one another, they helped each other out and eventually they could communicate pretty regularly and easily and the like. And Atem eventually got his memories back. You will too."
She nodded with a sheepish smile and Joey beamed back, taking another bite of his lunch. It took a moment, but eventually, something he had said before clicked, "Joey... did you mean... that it's your job to beat me up over things or it's your job to beat yourself up over things?"
Joey half choked on his sandwich and took a quick swig of water, "Huh? What do ya mean?"
"Well... I... I don't know," Kisara filled in quickly, "I just... Joey... why did you ask me to hang out with you today?"
Joey blinked before smiling stupidly again, "'Cause a pretty girl like you shouldn't be so sad all the time, of course. You should have some fun. Just 'cause you're here, you shouldn't be confined to the problem at hand."
Kisara eyed him. She felt like he was covering something up, but since she couldn't determine it to be so or not... she simply nodded, "Well, thank you. I'm glad you asked me to. And I'm glad it's you. You don't seem to get out much yourself these days."
"Eh, I get plenty of time on my own," Joey told her, "And ya know, the customers and the like are plenty interesting."
"And sometimes annoying," Kisara slipped.
With a dramatic flair, Joey retorted, "How dare you insult the great okyaku-sama!"
Kisara burst into a fit of giggles.
Making his way up the steps of the elevator, Seto stormed into the mall, right up near the Doutor entrance. But just as he reached for the door, he faltered. What was he doing? What did he even intend to do in there? Did he want to confront her? Yell at her? Disgrace her? Or just... He reached for the door and opened it. Making his way inside, he kept himself mixed in amongst the crowd as he scanned the various customers for the one face he was looking for. There, by the window. She was giggling. It was... widely and insanely beautiful, no.. toxic, disconcerting... he couldn't find the right words in his head, but it made him angry. However, even as he moved towards her, a voice he recognized met his ears and he stopped.
"See, that's the kind of smile you should be having," Joey said.
Immediately, Seto slid back into the crowd. He wasn't afraid of Joey but... he didn't want to confront her with Joey there. Not that he couldn't handle Joey, but, in all seriousness, dealing with that moron was the last thing he really wanted to do right now. Glancing around, he found himself a seat and slipped into it. His back to them, though he kept his ears open.
"I guess..." He heard her say.
"Don't guess," Joey told her, "You know, everyone... everyone makes mistakes."
There was a pause and Seto felt his stomach sink.
"Yeah, even me," Joey said, "It's a part of life. And things just happen... sometimes the only thing to do is just move on and just don't make 'em again."
The words 'move on' stung the CEO somewhere. Somewhere he couldn't quite place.
Out of Seto's eyesight, Kisara rolled her eyes, "I, I don't think I can make that mistake again."
The sting throbbed.
"Well, why don' we go around the mall, forget about everything, ya know?" Joey said.
Kisara nodded and soon Seto heard the sounds of footsteps walking around towards him. Quickly, he glanced down away from them, digging himself into the corner of the booth he was at. Not this way. Don't look over here. Don't notice… me. The thought stung something bitter.
"I'll put these away and meet ya out there," Joey said.
From his corner, he saw Kisara walk past him and out the front doors, her hair trailing gracefully behind her, every second she got farther away, the throbbing resonating more. Placing the tray on the counter, Joey clapped his hands free of any remaining dirt when he turned and a curiously... unsettling sight met his eyes. There was Seto Kaiba, sitting there, his gaze on the door. Joey's eyes narrowed at the observation. Walking past him, as if he hadn't noticed the CEO though, he made his way out to the mall.
"So," He said, "You ever been to Tokyu Hands?" He asked.
He laughed, "No no, Tokyu Hands. It has a little bit of everything in there. I bet we can find some cool stuff to keep us busy."
"Okay," Kisara said.
Leading the way, Joey shoved his wallet back into his back pocket, looking over his shoulder to... no one. Maybe it had been coincidence. Maybe. Hopefully.
Tokyu Hands indeed provided them with plenty of entertainment. They ended up getting lost in the stationary section of the store, where Kisara found herself entranced by all of the cute pencil cases, notebooks, and writing instruments. Joey found himself mentally patting himself on the back as she gushed over the various shaped erasers and the many different diaries on sale.
The concept of a diary in particular entranced her. Not only could she read now, but she could document, write... and this world made it so easy to do! Eventually, they left the store, arguing over if Joey should have gotten a dragon skin pencil case for work or not.
"But it was black!" She told him playfully, "Perfect for a guy who wields the Red Eyes Black Dragon!"
"Guys don't need stuff like that though," He said.
"Who cares! It's fun!" She argued back.
As he glanced back at her, something else caught his attention. Another set of eyes. The pair met. Was that imbecile following them? He glared before wrapping his arm around Kisara's shoulder, who was oblivious to the other person in their vicinity, and directed her off to the next store. From inside Tokyu Hands, Seto's brows raised in what he was pretty sure was disgust and moved to walk on after them.
Unbeknownst to the two of them, Kisara's shoulders scrunched up in surprise to the action from Joey and she was relieved when Joey's arm fell off and let her walk freely. The next store turned out to be a furniture store, where they clearly defined their obvious differences in taste. Kisara preferred more earthy tones while Joey just preferred whatever was comfy.
"I'm not asking you to buy it!" Kisara teased.
"Good, because I don't got the money for that!" Joey shot back.
"Don't you save all of your money though?" Kisara asked, "I mean, you don't have to buy a couch, but, why don't you buy something for yourself?"
"Naw... I can't," Joey said.
"But... you bought me the diary," Kisara said, holding up the purchase.
"Well, this is... that is... I gotta save money for Serenity's college fund," Joey admitted sheepishly.
Kisara's brow wrinkled, "But... didn't you say that you had almost saved enough? A little something won't kill you, will it?"
Joey's brows raised a bit and he sighed, "Uh, well, no, but... you just, you never know when you're gonna be in a pinch, ya know? Ya gotta be prepared..."
There was a silence that lingered between the two of them, before she spoke, "But... Joey, what's the point in being prepared but then never taking that next step?"
He glanced her way in surprise. She'd hit it. Dead on the nail. This girl...
"I don't know, sorry," She said quickly, "I just... I feel like you're always working and doing stuff for other people. You should really do that more so for yourself. Allow yourself to be happy."
"I... I am happy," Joey said, though admittedly it was a pretty pitiful response to her almost too insightful statement.
Kisara eyed him, "So you say."
The clock below in the station sounded, echoing. Kisara sighed, "I should probably get going on home."
He nodded and the two made their way down to the bottom floor so she could get to her platform.
"Alright, well... did this cheer ya up a bit?" Joey asked her, as he passed her some coins for her train fare before they parted.
After a moment, she nodded, "It did... a bit. Thank you, Joey..."
Joey smiled, but she continued, "And Joey, I... be happy, okay?"
Surprised by the statement, he was even more startled by the hug he received from her before she placed the coins in her coin purse as she turned to go back to the turnstiles. Swiping her Suica, she looked over her shoulder back at her friend and waved, before disappearing into the crowd. Joey was nice. He really was. And funny and sweet. But... she couldn't help thinking that this hadn't all been for her. He hadn't said anything, he never did. It was just the way he spoke, his body language that made her think that something was on his mind. She just hoped that whatever it was that was bothering Joey, he could figure it all out...
Joey watched until Kisara was out of sight before turning to exit the mall and walk back to the bus. The sun was going down outside and the place was becoming more and more vacant. The bus came into view and stopped before him, the doors opening. But just as he was about to board, Joey paused momentarily, before turning.
"Ya got a problem with me or something now too, Kaiba?" He barked back.
All too obviously attempting to stay out of sight, Seto mentally cursed, "Please, you just happen to be everywhere I've needed to go today, Wheeler."
"Bull," Joey shot, "You know, if you wanted 'ta talk to her, you should just do it. Not be this creepy, perverted stalker."
Seto scoffed, "That... you think I'd bother to care what that snake does? Don't give yourself so much credit."
"I'm not, I'm giving her credit. And she's not a snake or whatever you may think she is, Kaiba," Joey shot.
"I guess like minded people wouldn't see it," Seto sneered.
"You're one to talk," Joey said, the bus now leaving, "You know, creeping around people like that, you'll never get the full story."
"Oh, like there's more to her story," Seto spat, "Listen Wheeler, I could care less-"
"So that's why you went through the girlie Tokyu Hands Stationary section? That's why you went to Doutor and didn't buy anything? Please, you might be a genius when it comes to Duel Monsters, but you're an idiot when it comes to freakin' social interaction," Joey argued back.
"And what kind of weirdo are you to notice?" Seto shot back quickly.
"The kind that's gonna be there to keep my friend from getting hurt any more from a selfish prick like you," Joey said vehemently.
"Please, you think she really feels anything? She's vermin, just working her way into things to get what she needs or wants, like the scum you'd find in the back alleys of some trash filled city," Seto snapped, "You're not saving her from any 'heartache', you're just taking your shot where you can get-"
Seto felt himself getting slammed against the wall and then shoved to the ground. His head hit concrete and his mind spun, feeling hands on his lapels. Above him, Joey released him breathing hard. Finally, he spoke.
"What... what kind of messed up... vision of her do you have, Kaiba?" He said slowly, "Kisara's the sweetest girl I've ever met. She hung out with you knowing what a douche you are. And then you overhear half a conversation and what... she's suddenly this contemptible person because she didn't tell you everything about her life? Ever think she might have been afraid of that?!"
Seto sat up, "Afraid of me finding out she just wanted my affluence? Yeah, why wouldn't-"
"Oh get over yourself," Joey interrupted, "She had no interest in your affluence or anything like that. She doesn't really care about Duel Monster cards and she doesn't care about the Blue Eyes. She only cared because you do. Because you... you showed her how brilliant they are... Kaiba..."
Seto moved to get up, saying nothing, as Joey stood aside to let him and finished, "Yugi only was trying to ask Kisara to ask you to help her get home."
"Then why not book herself a flight and get out of here? Use a credit card it's not that-"
"Because you brought her here, you idiot!" Joey yelled, pointing at him.
"I… I what?" Kaiba stammered.
"You heard me," Joey said, "Kisara isn't just from around here. She's from Atem's world. From the dunes of Egypt, Ancient Egypt. And you did something to bring her here. And so help me, if she isn't able to get back because of you, I'll-"
At this point, the shouting match seemed to be over. Seto's eyes had locked onto Joey's. What was... this had to be a lie. They were just baiting him again... But Joey's expression was poised with anger, he was either telling the truth, or just outright delusional. Before he even got the chance to debate the matter, Joey grabbed him again by the front of his jacket without warning and shoved him into the wall, though not quite as harshly as the last time.
"Just stay out of her life if you're not going to do anything but ruin it," He seethed, when Seto got a sudden burst of adrenaline that kicked through his system.
Grabbing Joey's wrists, he turned and slammed Joey against the wall, changing sides. Fist swelled, he was about to let go. Let go of all of it. All of his anger... Joey's eyes had shut, sure that Seto was going to punch him, but slowly they opened upon realizing that Seto's fist had hit concrete. He was breathing hard now, a heat swelling in his breast. His face was red, eyes scrunched up in anger.
"I'm... not... out... to ruin... her life..." Seto said very slowly, his form beginning to ease as well.
Noticing the lax in Seto's stance, Joey pushed him back and away, "Well, if that's truly the case, but you don't intend on helping her, then at the very least stay out of it and let her be happy."
The next bus had come. Glancing between his ride and his rival, Joey let out an aggravated sigh. There was nothing more to say, nothing more to do. He rolled his eyes and jumped onto the bus, leaving the CEO behind, grateful to be getting away from the whole situation. From Kaiba and his inconsiderate nonsense... Standing outside as the bus pulled away, Seto found himself feeling readily sick. The memories, the words from the whole day, spiraling in his head.
"Everyone makes mistakes."
"Just move on."
"Forget about everything, ya know?"
And then seeing her hug him...
Hearing her laugh…
Seeing her smile...
Seto felt his eyes sting, burn with an almost dry salt water, as he stood there. Worse of all, as his chest began to ache, there was no one, no one to support him. Stabilize him. Rectify the nightmare in his head. He was alone. Completely and utterly alone.
A/N: Just for the record, I don't condone stalking. Not an okay thing to do. Also not a great idea to ignore your problems rather than facing them head on. Both boys in this chapter need a little help. But hey… he kinda know the truth now? Kinda? Haha, anyway, I hope you liked it! This was a really enjoyable chapter to write. Let me know in your reviews what you thought! Till next time, stay awesome! Later,