I've been addicted to The Fray since I got the CD when it came out... I don't own the song, its lyrics, just the idea of the plot using characters from a show I did NOT create.
This came to me out of the blue the other day and wouldn't leave me alone until finally I decided to get a piece of paper and start writing. So after editing and reading it, here is the third and (most likely ) FINAL installment to this terribly tragic story.
A Friend's Promise
Joey walked up to the Game Shop with a heavy heart. His steps were uneven, it always was every time he worked up the nerve to touch the silver doorknob, though this was the first time in a long while he ever dared to turn it and enter... He knew the others hadn't the courage, even after a month to mourn. He sighed turning it and taking his first step inside - there was no turning back now. His eyes surveyed for any sign of life, in the corner he noticed behind the glass case that served as a counter, Solomon Mutoh, whom everyone had come to call affectionally so, 'Gramps'.
The old man turned to the soft jingling of bells, that he had wrapped around the front door. His eyes widened before softening. "Joey, I hadn't been expecting you." He smiled gently though it didn't hold the same sparkle of witty mischief it once had.
"Hey Gramps. Sorry ta drop by unannounced and all..." His plastered smile couldn't withhold, nor his gaze as it quickly averted the moment it met the others large purple ones - how it reminded him of... "I figured it was time I checked on you and Yami... You know since..." He could barely say the boy's name, it hurt him so much to think of his lil' bud.
The old man nodded but his smile as gentle as it was completely washed away as he turned his gaze up the stairwell. "I don't think he's ready to talk to anyone Joey. He hasn't come down since then - I've been having to leave his food on a tray by his door, begging and hoping he would eventually eat..."
'He was closer to Yugi - perhaps more than even myself... Yugi... I - No. I can't lose it now. Not now.' Joey sighed throwing his hands into his pocket out of nervous habit. "It isn't good for him to do that..." the room fell silent for a long while, the short old man's eyes glued to the floor and Joey's lokoing around in every direction possible. "I hafta talk to him right now." He said suddenly, resolve slowly finding its way to him. He had come here for a reason after all.
Solomon shook his head. "I don't think that's a good idea Joey. Maybe if-"
"I know Gramps, I know. Please just let me try." The old man rubbed the back of his neck in hesitation. He sighed out his huff of reservation and walked away towards the stock room, where he kept all the new and overstock items. 'Thanks Gramps.'
He stepped up the stairs and sighed heavily. He nervously knocked on the door, after finding that it was locked. "I'm not hungry right now."
He could hear the muffled reply. He frowned and knocked again. There was another quiet answer that was impossible to hear, so he knocked again, going with the notion the other would not open his door even if he were to make himself known. It was silent even longer and he kept on knocking, worriedly. 'Just open the damn door!' He was losing his resolve - he had told himself he wouldn't.
As if by miracle the door was swung open, he opened his tearful brown eyes, which he hadn't realized he'd closed, and stared at his slightly shorter pain-stricken friend. "J-Joey?" The other whispered as if to speak any louder would make the blond-haired other disappear.
"Hey, Yami." He smiled softly, tears still falling. He gestured to be let in and Yami hesitated for a moment.
Step one you say we need to talkHe walks you say sit down it's just a talk
"I'm not really up to it right now, Joey." He muttered tearing his gaze away. He made to close the door but Joey quickly pushed the other and himself inside. Yami turned to him with a look of disbelief. The stubborn blond stared at him intently, with a sad sense of understanding pouring from his brown eyes. Yami smiled weakly and sat down on his unmade bed.
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on throughSome sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
"I feel like the world has stopped spinning ya know? Like even though I see all the people goin' on about their busy lives as if nothing out of the ordinary has taken place… but even so, it has just stopped." Joey sighed staring out at the simple white walls above Yami's head.
The other said nothing, keeping his eyes glued to the carpeted floor. "Why are you here Joey? You shouldn't be wasting time here…"
Joey stared at him and frowned. "You've been avoiding us – everyone – by keeping yourself locked up in here. Don't you understand Yami, we are hurting too, we miss Yugi too." He said approaching the other and placing his right hand on the other's left shoulder. "You aren't alone in this misery, Yami."
The tri colored teen shook his head as he swatted the blond's hand away. "Don't you understand Joey?" He growled standing to face the other with a rush of frustrated and uncertain anger flaring, not really meant to be aimed at the other though. "I don't deserve to be alive. I am the pathetic moron that should've ended his life – I did all this to Yugi! Why can't you just leave me alone?!" He shouted starting to tremble all over.
The blond stared at him for a moment, taking time to note the horrible work their friend's death caused him… His eyes were an awfully deep shade of scratchy-red, his face and skin pale as milk… 'He's so much more thinner than I remember too. And that's bad considering how lightweight he was before.' "You're wrong Yami. It isn't your fault." He sighed with a roll of his eyes and a flush of guilt and more tears, "Not entirely…"
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came…
Crimson eyes met torn browns and scoffed at the insinuation. How could the other possibly admit to something he hadn't done? "I don't know why you feel that way. You and the others have always been there for him, through times of need and thick and thin. It wasn't your responsibility to be there for him."
Joey sighed once again, wiping his eyes from their streaming downpour. "Dammit Yami stop talkin' like that already! Stop it! It isn't your fault, we can't change what happened to Yugi – if he was in such pain – he should've said something!" He shouted desperately, not really paying much mind to what his body was saying.
Yami shoved him toward the door. The two faced each other with similar trembles. "Don't talk about him like that! Don't disgrace him anymore than he's already been! I've had enough of listening to you Joey! Just leave me alone!"
"I'm not leavin' you! I'm your friend too, Yami." He shook his head exhaling deeply. "We hafta help each other – why can't you see that?" He wiped at the teardrops again, eyes puffy from the release of his once suppressed tears. "I know it's hard to talk about him. But we can't avoid it forever!" There was a pause before the other shook his head and looked away.
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
The two remained in a standstill, he couldn't bring himself to make the other leave. 'I don't deserve to have friends that care so much about me…' He winced as a harsh and cruel thought crossed his mind. 'Friends that weren't even mine to start off with. I really did steal his friends away, even his closest one stands before me.' He moved away and headed to the window, staring out its thin glass surface. 'Yugi…'
Joey took a step forward, glancing back at the door before turning back to the other. "You need to stop blaming yourself, ya know.."
Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know bestTry to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Yami shook his head and ran his hand through his hair. His hands settled shakily on the windowsill, his body hunched over and tears fell like a relentless rainstorm down onto the sill below. "You can't understand it Joey. I realize you're trying to help but you can't stop the truth, you can't deny it." 'Or forget it…' The blond shuffled his feet unable to reply a comment that would actually relay to what he was saying.
But the somber other was right – he didn't understand. 'Dammit, why is he behaving so irrationally. I know that Yugi was someone so special to him but why can't he see how much he meant to me, to Tea – to everyone who ever knew him? Doesn't he see that we are here for him?' Joey ran his hand across his face trying to will the strength to keep trying – even though part of him wanted to give up and just leave. He should've taken his friend's advice in letting the other handle this on his own…
'Wait. No! I can't let him suffer like this! Friends don't do that to one another.' He marched over to him and grabbed a hold of his shoulder, he turned him around roughly staring straight into those hollow, seemingly soulless bloodshot eyes. "This isn't going to continue. Yami you are stronger than this. So knock off this pity-trip right now!" He demanded doing everything in his power to maintain a stern, steady appearance. 'I don't wanna hear anymore about you being responsible, about you messing it up, about you being the one that should've died! You need to stop right now!"
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears youAnd pray to God he hears you…
Yami shoved the other off again and scowled venomously at his enraged friend. "You don't get it! You damn moron! Joey! This isn't about anything but what happened to Yugi! I should have been there for him, but all I ever did was push him away! He was hurting the whole entire time – his heart was breaking and I could've seen it a long time ago before he had to resort to such drastic measures!"
"It isn't your fault – don't ever think for a second that you caused his death! He chose suicide because he didn't have the courage to make his feelings known – he killed himself! You need to accept tha-" Joey didn't see Yami's fist sailing through the air, but the impact did leave him wide-eyed on the floor.
Yami stared down at him, not flinching as blood dribbled down the blond's chin. "Stop talking so badly of him. He was forced into such a situation because of me and my neglect. Joey, just leave!"
The blond closed his eyes, propped up on his elbows but didn't do anything but stare at the other's feet. A moment passed by without any movement or sound, Joey was vaguely aware of the crimson staining his shirt. "So tell me how long are you gonna act this way?" The blond questioned still unmoving.
As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed…
…He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the sameAnd you'll begin to wonder why you came…
"Leave." Came Yami's curt reply.
Joey peeled his intense gaze from the floor to his depressed friend. The other wasn't facing him any longer. 'This was pointless… Just a waste of time. Looks like they were right – I couldn't get him to open up… The only person that could ever accomplish such a thing would be Yugi.' Joey sat up and gradually stood to his feet, noticing how the other still refused to spare him even a glance. "I'm really sorry Yami." He muttered brushing the blood that was starting to dry on his chin. Still no movement from the other, so he turned and opened the door, gripping it tightly as if it was the reason for this miserable departure. "I wish you could see what everyone else sees." He swallowed hard, "Instead of just the guilt." Yami looked back to the window as he heard the door close behind the blond.
"You're the one that's blind Joey…" 'I can't take this anymore. Yugi I know I didn't deserve it but why couldn't you give me one last chance?' He placed his hands back on the windowsill, clenching the curve of it for dear life, he began to sob all over again.
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night-Had I known how to save a life
Joey walked down the stairwell with a very defeated look on his face, his mind too lost in gray to even hear the concerned tone of the old Grandfather of the 'Mutoh brothers'. He walked out without giving the old man any recognition. His hands casually flew into hiding via his jeans-pockets, the cool air tossing his hair in every direction. 'I've failed at being a friend… At being someone's support… again.'
He continued down the city of Domino, absentmindedly retreating to the silent darkness of the Domino City Park. It had always been a place Joey went to wallow and sulk. He had plenty of reason to do both – being the worst best friend and all. 'I couldn't save you, and now I can't even comfort Yami.' Tears stung at his eyes and for perhaps the tenth time that night, he let them pour unrestraint. He fell back onto a bench, bringing his legs up and wrapping his arms around them. His face buried into them, as he let himself wail and break down. "Why couldn't you just say something? Why couldn't you tell me Yugi?!" He clenched his hands into tight fists, nails cutting into his skin. "I would've listened!"
Where did I go wrong- I lost a friendSomewhere along in the bitterness
Joey continued to jerk from his dying sob-fest, now stuck with an impeccable hiccup. His head hurt and his chest ached and burned from all the reasons why and how. Why had he not seen it? Why didn't he realize the hurt and uncharacteristic silence? And how did it come to this? How had he – or any of them – managed to let it get this bad? He sniffed and finally let his legs drop back down to touch the soft dirt below him. 'And now you Yami… I want to help you…'
He didn't know how long he'd been there crying but he figured it was maybe time to leave. He promised himself that he wouldn't break down again – before he left his home earlier. 'I guess I'm not good enough to help anyone… Couldn't even save my best friend – how could I possibly believe I could be the shoulder for him? Pretty stupid of me – as usual – eh Yugi?' He smiled bitterly before standing to his feet. He looked up at the sky above him, so cloudy, dark – starless.
And I would have stayed up with you all nightHad I known how to save a life…
He took a step and looked back down at his two feet. He continued down the dirt path, deciding to just head back home since it was growing later and later. As he stepped he felt his foot slide against something poking out of the dirt itself. His eyes widened slightly at the unmistakable brown swirl, with a black oval in the middle; 'A duel monsters' card…' He inhaled deeply and picked up the card between his two thin fingers and stood straight once more. The wind blew with a sudden gust before settling back down, with an unenthused curiosity he flipped it over and instantly dropped to his knees as no other than the Dark Magician stared back at him. His eyes filled with another bout of tears. 'Yugi…'
He clutched the card to his chest and stood abruptly to his feet. Turning on his heels, opposite his house and ran full-force to the Game Shop. 'Yugi… I promise you… I won't screw it up this time!' Tears nipped his cheeks, flying through the wind he left behind him as he dashed madly down the streets of Domino. 'I won't let him die too! I promise you!'
Where did I go wrong I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
Joey barreled through the front door, breaking the lock in the process. "Joey- what are you-?!" Solomon shouted in surprise and panic. But the blond ran passed him and jumped the stairs, three at a time and banged on the door of Yami's room. "Yami open up right now!" He shouted impatiently, starting to feel his heart begin to break when no answer came. "Open up right now!" 'Fine then!'
He could hear the older Mutoh coming towards him from the stairs so he stepped back and kicked the door in. "Yami!" He screamed searching frantically around the bedroom. His heart began tearing itself in two as there was no one. He looked again and found the bathroom light on and the door closed. "Yami!" He charged at it and opened the door, staring in a state of shock at the older in the bathtub – starting to overflow with water. "Yami…" He cried and trembled as the other stared with hazy eyes as blood gushed from his left wrist – same hand ready to slice the right.
And I would have stayed up with you all nightHad I known how to save a life
Joey ran to him and grabbed both wrists tightly. The small knife fell out of the weak hand and Joey could hear Solomon behind him talking with a nine-one-one operative on the phone. Joey stepped into the tub and pulled the other close to him as he quickly reached for a towel to wrap the bloodied arm in. "I'm not letting you die… I refuse to lose another friend Yami…" He whispered into the other's drenched hair.Where did I go wrong – I lost a friend…
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I, would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life…
How to save a life…
How to save a life.
"It'll never happen again. I promise you Yugi…"