Summary:  Tragedy strikes.  Joey Wheeler is gone forever.  Or is he?  Joey POV.  Post Duelist Kingdom AU.  Will eventually be Seto/Joey shounen-ai.

Author's Notes:  Well, I thought I'd try writing a YuGiOh fic.  I've never posted at before, so we'll see how it goes, shall we?

This is the final version of this story.   I am not going to mess with it anymore (unless I find some horrible typo or something...).  I'm going to leave most of the header stuff untouched, like review responses and stuff.  However, I have changed the disclaimers in the first few chapters a little bit ^_^

Sorry it took me so long to post this updated version.  I know at least one person was waiting for it (sorry, elz!).

Warnings:  Character death (sort of), language, angst, eventual Seto/Joey.

Disclaimers:  I don't own YuGiOh or any other brand names you might come across.  No shoelaces were harmed in the making of this fic.


Being Dead Ain't Easy

Chapter One:  The No Good, Very Bad Day


Man, it's been a crappy day.  Compared to all the other crappy days I've had, this was one of the crappiest, and believe me, I've had some pretty lousy days.  Yeah, it started out okay, but as it went on, it reached a whole new level of suckage.

You wanna know why?

Tough, I'll tell you anyway.  Heh, misery loves to share.  And I've got more than enough to spread around.

So… where to start?  This morning okay with you?

Woke up, went to the bathroom, did my business, got dressed, the usual morning routine.  Snuck around the apartment, grabbed my school stuff, tiptoed past my old man passed out on the floor (yeah he's been drinkin' again), and off to school I went.  So far, so good.  All in all, a pretty average day so far.

Went to school.  Didn't learn a thing, but it's worth it just to see my buddies, ya know?  We clowned around, had some fun.  Maybe too much fun, 'cause the teacher gave me a detention.  At least Kaiba got one, too.  Maybe I should throw stuff at him more often, take Moneybags down a notch or two.  Or three or four.  I still think I shouldn't have gotten a detention.  I mean, he started it!  What, does the teacher expect me to just stand there and let him call me a chihuahua!?

Anyways, it was pouring rain when I finally got outta there, and I didn't have an umbrella.  Kaiba was still at the school doin' schooly stuff.  That's a pretty good thing, 'cause after a detention with him, the last thing I wanna hear is him calling me a wet dog.  I shiver a bit.  Damn, it's cold.  I'm gonna be drenched by the time I get home.

I start walkin'.  I'm pretty miserable.  Rain's washing the hairgel outta my oh so silky locks and my hair's gettin' in my eyes.  My shoelaces come untied and I just stuff 'em back into my shoes.  At least I don't live too far from the school.  Another fifteen minutes and I'll be home.

Here's when my day went bad.

I look up and see Kaiba's limo whiz past.  I'm guessin' he just picked up his kid brother from school or something after detention.  Stinkin' rich Kaiba.  He has his own freakin' LIMO!  He's about the same age as me, and he's got his own company, his own mansion, his own everything.  His bro's okay, I guess.  I hope he doesn't grow up into a mini-Seto Kaiba.

Man, I wish I had a limo.  I bet it's all nice and cozy in there, eh, Kaiba?  Dry, too.  All shiny and black.  Courtesy of Kaiba Corp.  I look a little closer.  Heh, I guess your limo's not so great after all, 'cause there's smoke comin' outta the trunk.


Smoke comin' outta the trunk?

Alright, it's none of my business, but that's a bad thing, right?  So I start runnin' after the limo.  Doesn't take too long to catch up 'cause it suddenly starts zigzagging all over the street, crashes into a lamppost, and explodes.  Whole thing's covered in flames.


Don't get me wrong, okay?  I hate Kaiba.  Hate him.  But it's my civic duty or something to try and rescue him, and besides, his little bro's in there.  Probably a driver in there, too.

I run up to the burnin' wreck and try to get the door open.  It's too hot, so I hafta sorta use my jacket as insulation to get my hands on the handle.  It's no good; the door's kinda melted.  I hear banging and screaming coming from the inside.  Screaming sounds like Mokuba.  I hear more banging against the door.  Kaiba must be kickin' the door from his end.

The screaming's stopped.

That's a bad thing.

I pull, he kicks, and between the two of us, the door goes flyin' off its hinges and I go flyin' with it.  Not a moment too soon, either, 'cause my jacket's caught fire and I barely have time to get rid of it.

Kaiba rolls outta the ex-limo with his brother in his arms.  He staggers a bit. He's in bad shape.  Mokuba's passed out, but he's not hurt too bad.

I take a quick look into the wreck.  Can't get too close 'cause the whole thing's on fire, but the driver's either knocked out or dead.  I'm guessin' dead, 'cause it looks like a bomb's gone off in his face.  I try to get to him, but the fire's too much.  I can hear firetrucks coming, so maybe they'll be able to get him out, 'cause I sure as hell can't.

Kaiba's hunched over in pain.  The rain's plastering his hair to his head.  His trench coat's ripped up and he's got burns all over him, but he notices me and straightens out.  Aww, ya shouldn't have.

I say so.

He glares at me but doesn't say nothin'.  Fine, be that way!  Guess he can't be that badly hurt if he's still got the energy to be a prick.

So I turn around and leave.

…Yeah right.  You think I'd just leave 'em like that? Of course I didn't turn around and leave!  What kinda monster do ya take me for!?

I walk up to Mr. CEO.  "Kaiba, you alright?"  I'm NOT worried about him.  No way.

Glare.  "What do you think, you dumb mutt!" he hisses.  He turns his back to me and fusses over his brother.

Okay.  He's got other things to worry about.  I get that.  If that was my little sis passed on the street, I'd be pretty snarky, too.

I kinda don't know what to do, so I'm sorta hoverin' over Kaiba in case he needs me.  Not that I care about him or anything.  I just wanna make sure his brother's okay.  Yeah.

…Who am I kidding?  I was worried about him, okay!?

But just a little.

Shut up.

Thank you.

So where was I?  Oh, yeah, hoverin' over Kaiba.

Turns out that was a pretty bad spot to be hoverin' over, 'cause suddenly it felt like somebody'd socked me in the back, but worse.  I keel over into Kaiba's arms.  He starts to yell at me, but doesn't.  His eyes widen in shock.

Then the pain hits me.

FUCK it hurts!  Damnfuckshitfuck can't even scream, hurts so much…

Did I make a sound? I dunno. I must've, but I can't remember.


Kaiba's lookin' at me.  No, he's lookin' at my torso.  He's got blood all over him, and it's not his.  His eyes go kinda glassy as he stares at all the red stuff.

Don't wanna look.  Don't wanna…


…Somebody's blown a freakin' hole in me.  It looks real bad.  I'm not a doctor; I dunno how bad.  It takes all my strength just to turn my head so I can see who shot me in the back.

It's some guy in a business suit.  Black hair.  Too far away to see his eyes, but he looks disappointed.  Must've been aiming for Kaiba.

Great.  I've saved Kaiba's life and I didn't even mean to.  He'd better appreciate it.

The gunman's runnin' away.

Come back here, ya back-stabbin' coward!  I try to go after the fucker, but I can't move…

Man, there's so much blood.  Probably why I'm feelin' pretty woozy.  At least it doesn't hurt so much anymore.  My vision's getting kinda blurry, too.  Is the rain gettin' in my eyes?

Oh.  It's 'cause Kaiba's shaking me.  Must be.  I think he's saying something, but it's real hard to concentrate on his voice.  I try anyway.

Come on, concentrate...

"…dumb mutt!  Stay with me!  Open your eyes and stay with me, you mangy, flea-bitten dog!"

'Jeez, give it a break wit' the insults, Kaiba.  I'm injured, here!' I try to say, but nothin's coming out but blood.  I'm still laying in his arms, making a real bloody mess all over his sooty, burnt clothes.  His wardrobe's totalled.  Like his limo.  Like me.

Ya know, it's kinda nice havin' him hold me like this.  He's soakin' wet and I am, too, but he's… warm.  I must be goin' into shock or something.  The only way Kaiba'd be warm would be if he was radioactive.  Maybe it's just the warm blood I bled all over him.

Whatever, I don't care.  I'm warm and I'm not really hurting anymore.  I can't even feel him shaking me.  And I'm really, really tired.

Gonna close my eyes for a sec.  I'm really sleepy… can't keep them open…

Be a pal… wake me when the ambulance gets here, will ya?

"Joey, NO!"

…I think… I'm gonna take a… little nap now.  So tired.  Hope that's… okay… wit' you… Kaib-