Ciao, Duckies!

Title: Once Upon a Time

Pairing: Joey Wheeler/Seto Kaiba.  Minor: Malik/Ryou, Otogi/Serenity

Rating: R, eventually

Summary: Joey is a punk with sticky fingers and a horrible report card. Seto Kaiba is the smartest kid in school, and the biggest prep. Once Joey is arrested one time too many, Kaiba is assigned to be his tutor. If Joey can't get his grades up, it's off the state juvenile penitentiary.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Seriously.

Author's Notes: [I claim this plot, and I'm dreadfully sorry if someone thought of it before me. I know it's all cliché and shit for the whole Seto tutoring Joey, but this is going to be different.] The boys are sixteen, which means they are juniors in high school. Just humor me and let this take place in America [most likely New York], because neither Joey nor Kaiba look the least bit Japanese anyway and I just so happen to understand American culture better than Japanese. There might be some OC's in the forms of cops and principles and whatnot. So please, just go with the flow. 

That having been said, enjoy the story.

::It's the plan of most

To discover that magnificent ghost

When did I get perverted

And my innocent eyes diverted from the view so grand

Imbued with distractions

I'm greedy like Senior Babbitt

I'm just chasing that electric rabbit

I'm a reluctant rebel

I just want to be Aaron Neville

With a crown on my head

And my denim shirt all dark with sweat

I'm just pushing the paint around

On advice from your lying mouth

You touched me and then you ran

And left a sad Peter Pan

All alone and awkward

But a transformation, I swear it will occur.::

--Sad Peter Pan by the Smashing Pumpkins

***Once Upon A Time***

The sun hadn't even risen when Joey woke up, and he had a strict policy involving consciousness and sunshine. If the sun wasn't up, then neither was he. Still, Malik Ishtar had selective hearing, and never really heard the important part of the rules involved with sleeping over at the Wheeler apartment. And Malik never really reminded Joey that he was a violent sleeper. Hey, nobodies perfect.

Joey let out a string of curses as his head collided with the wood floor.

Had there been sunshine, it wouldn't have been so bad. That way he would know if they were in danger of getting to school late. But there wasn't any sun, which created a big problem. Thrown out of his little shelter of warmth—in a still dark apartment— Joey seriously considered throwing Malik out of his apartment. Literally.

At the moment, though, Joey was concerned with remembering what they had done the night before. He was at least assured they hadn't had sex, because he was still fully clothed, and reeking of beer. That explained why they were at his place, at least. Malik lived two floors below Joey, in an apartment with his older sister—and respected policewoman—Isis. And although Isis turned her head at most of their illegal stunts, even when inebriated, Joey and Malik knew better than to show up drunk.

Joey took advantage of the lack of light in his room, and looked around. Surprisingly enough, nothing was broken, and everything seemed to be in place. Even his precious drum set. Especially his precious drum set. Something caught his eye, though. Even in the dimness, Joey could make out a bright red form beside his drums. Malik's guitar. Which answered another question from the night before. They had been playing a gig at some party. Joey sincerely hoped he wouldn't run into whoever threw the party at school. That could be embarrassing; especially since Joey rarely drank so much he couldn't remember anything the next day.

He did have one hell of a hangover, though. All he really knew was, Malik had better have one too, or he really would throw his pretty friend out of his apartment. First, he would have to find some secret strength hidden within to get off the floor. With his ear pressed to the floor, Joey could hear the muffled footsteps of his father, and it wasn't helping his head very much.

Mr. Wheeler was practically nocturnal. That was the only explanation. No normal person would be up so early. At least not any normal person in their part of town. And, being a heavy drinker himself, Mr. Wheeler would be able to...empathize with Joey's pain. He could rest easy knowing they had gotten home before his father. Which left him wondering one more thing.

"What the hell time is it?"

Malik's hair, which was sticking up in several different directions, blocked his view of the alarm clock, but he could still make out a six and a three.

"Fuck," he muttered, and worked on trying to get up. Even ten more minutes of sleep would be enough...

So help him, if he possessed hand-eye coordination so early in the day, he would have cut off Malik's wayward hair strand by strand. It would serve the pretty Egyptian right, anyway. Joey slaved over his hair, and it was still one giant mess. Malik merely touched his hair, and all was immaculate and shiny. He would probably wake up, yawn, and touch his hair, and it would fall into place magically. And... Was he jealous of Malik's hair?

"Must be earlier then I thought," he muttered. After a few moments, he hoisted himself back into bed. It was the hardest three minutes of hoisting of his life.

"Mm, Joey, go back to sleep."

Joey looked over in shock. He raised his arm, looked at it, and then brought it down on Malik's head as hard as possible.


"Malik, shut the fuck up!"

Malik did the exact opposite.  "MOLESTER!"

So maybe it hadn't been the smartest thing to do, but Joey wasn't known for doing the smartest thing. As soon as the words issued from the other blonde's mouth, all hell broke loose. Inside Joey's head and out. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he wondered why Malik had called him a molester. Maybe in Egypt, touching someone's hair counted as molestation.

Eh, Joey could barely understand American culture, so he had no hope of understanding Egypt's customs.

Fifteen minutes later, Joey and Malik were sitting at the kitchen table, sharing a cup of coffee. Joey had put on something a little fresher (a faded tee from his dirty clothes pile and an old pair of jeans from his grunge phase) and loaned some clothes to Malik. Above them, the ceiling light flickered uncertainly. Mr. Wheeler sat across the table, rubbing his forehead while drinking from a silver flask. Joey could at least feel proud that his father could multi-task.

"Malik, it's six a.m.," Mr. Wheeler said calmly.

The tan boy gulped. "Yeah, I read the clock, uncle Wheeler."

"Okay, you shut up." He turned to his son. "Joey, talk."

'What am I, a dog?'

"Dad, we had a gig last night," Joey offered as way of explanation. He and Malik had a history of gigs and hangovers, and the two almost always went together. Malik decided to help out the situation. "Uncle Wheeler, we gotta get to school early today. Uh, special Monday classes and shit—stuff like that." In the other room, Joey's alarm clock went off.

Joey nodded, and while he got his things together for school, Malik went home to get his things. As usual, they agreed to meet out in front of the apartment building. Malik took his guitar ("just throw my dirty clothes in with yours") and went home. Joey gave himself an extra ten minutes, figuring Isis would probably want to yell at Malik for a while. He spent the extra time trying to brush his hair, and having two bowls of cereal. From his flat belly, though, most people would think Joey was starved.

"Shit, I almost forgot." On his dresser sat a sloppily wrapped package that fit neatly in the palm of his hand, shoved it in his book bag—the pockets had been rendered useless on his tight pants—and ran out the door. On the bright side, he had been sober for once, and talked coherently to Joey and Malik, even if he had only said two things.

So, the sun had finally begun to rise. Unfortunately, it began rising as soon as Joey stepped out onto the street. Malik didn't help much. He had changed into his normal clothing, which consisted of jeans and a lilac belly shirt, which matched his eyes perfectly. That wasn't the bad part. Around his neck and wrists glittered—more like blinded—numerous golden decorations. 'Damn Egyptians' Joey thought angrily, wishing he had taken more aspirin.

"Hey, flamer," he called, grinning when Malik looked over. He had also added his customary makeup, as Joey called it, which was really only eyeliner that Malik swore was customary in Egypt. Isis wore her makeup the same way, which didn't help Malik's argument, since Isis was a woman, and women were the ones who were supposed to wear makeup. Joey was guilty of wearing makeup, though.

Malik growled, breaking Joey out of his pre-trip down memory lane.

"I'm not a flamer!" Malik flipped his hair behind his shoulder and began walking with Joey.

"Fine. You're slightly...flamboyant."

"Yeah, well you look like a dog. A big, ugly, dog," Malik quipped.

 Joey hated being compared to dogs. Why did every single person he met think he looked like a dog? "Pretty boy."


"Oh my god, you're gayer than me!" Joey quickly forgot the dog comment, and decided on playful banter.

 Malik practically shoved him into the street. "Am not!"

"Malik, your eyes are purple. You were born to be gay."

"They're lilac, you uncultured heathen."

"I rest my case."

They managed to get to school headache free, with only a slight amount of bickering. Malik had home economics first ("Flamer."), and Joey had math, so they parted ways at the entrance. Besides, Joey had someone to meet up with.

Unfortunately, his math teacher had other plans. Just as Joey was walking by the classroom, with a good twenty seconds before the bell rung, the older man's hand grabbed Joey's arm and yanked him into the classroom.

"What's the big idea? I did my homework, you know," Joey lied.

His teacher laughed. "No, Mr. Mouto wants to speak with you."

"And this is important because..." Joey didn't like the principal.

"Because you'll be missing the first ten minutes of class, in which I will be collecting the homework you didn't do."

Joey laughed nervously; really, how did his teacher's always know? "Oh...okay."

As he walked down the hall, Joey tried weighing in his head which was worse, math class or a visit to the principals office. Mr. Mouto wasn't one of those clichéd fear-inducing principals—on the contrary. The four-foot tall man was a delight to the rest of the student body. It was his clone of a grandson Joey hated. Little Yugi Mouto was a royal pain in the ass, and happened to be the apple of every damn person in the schools eye. Well, except Joey, Malik, and a handful of other people. Still, it was like Yugi was some sort of magical leprechaun or something.

The secretary looked up, her gray hair bobbing on top of her head. "Mr. Wheeler?"

Joey nodded. "Yeah. Will the doctor see me in now?" The woman looked at him, fear clear on her face. "Young man, this is a principals office." Joey didn't have any time to ask what the hell she was talking about, when the phone began ringing, and the old woman waved him into the office. Joey barely caught the muttered, "Damn teenagers on drugs."

He would have replied, but Mr. Mouto was waving him in. Joey would bet anything that the principal was sitting on a stack of phonebooks. After all, his head was actually visible over his desk. Joey sauntered forward and plopped gracelessly into one of the purple chairs. Purple and black were the school colors. Personally, Joey wouldn't have picked purple chairs in his office if he had purple owl eyes like Mr. Mouto. Come to think of it, that was probably why the man got the job in the first place.

"So, what do you want?"  Joey glared at the Mr. Mouto defiantly. It was too early in the morning to be having a private conference, especially since Joey hadn't done anything...well, not that he could remember doing, anyway. "I have to finish my math homework before the teach takes it up." Lie. He really just wanted to give Serenity her gift.

Behind his desk, Mr. Mouto huffed, before calming down and adopting a calm look once more.

"Well, err, Officer Ishtar called, and we had a little chat." Mr. Mouto had the biggest, purplest eyes Joey had ever seen. Seriously. They were like, mesmerizing, and other nice adjectives of the sort. Malik had beautiful eyes and all, but they weren't all big and round like Principal Mouto's. Joey peered down at the purple chair, then back at the principal. Weird. "Are you listening to me, Mr. Wheeler?"

Nope. "Yeah." Joey felt his eyelids lower, a surefire way to look completely disinterested. "So, Isis called. What did you two chat about? Anything good?"

Principal Motou smiled, pleased that Joey was paying attention. All of his teachers had complained the boy was a slacker.

"We were discussing your grades, and came upon an agreement. I'm familiar with the situation between you and officer Ishtar, and—"

"You don't know nothing" Joey exploded suddenly. Inside, he was cursing Isis. She always, always had to try so hard to make things easier for Joey. And just because her younger brother was Joey's best friend didn't mean anything! He shook his head and said, "Look, Mr. M, get to the point so I can get back to class. Teach doesn't like it when I don't do my homework."

"I apologize if I offended you, Mr. Wheeler, but do remember I am in charge." The small man huffed once more and ran a hand through his graying hair. So maybe Wheeler was a problem child. As much as Mr. Mouto hated stereotypes, students like Joey always caused the most problems. "The agreement is this: your grades are falling rapidly, and your state tests came back scored poorly. There are four months left until summer vacation, of which I'm sure you're very pleased." The small smile Joey offered was answer enough, "But those four months are all you have to keep from failing. Now, I don't know if you're familiar with Seto Kaiba or not, but he had been assigned as your tutor. Every weekday for—"

"No way!" he yelled. "I'm not going nowhere near that bastard!" That was pretty clever, implying that Joey knew of Seto Kaiba. Of course he'd hear of Kaiba. He was only the richest, preppiest, and smartest junior in school. That, and Serenity had at one point had a crush on him, before realizing what a jerk he was.

The whole country probably knew about the icy genius, for Christ's sake! After all, Kaiba acted like he owned the school, so he wouldn't be surprised. That and he was the CEO of some big computer company. So maybe he kind of did own the school. So caught up in his horrible epiphany, Joey didn't notice the principal was talking to him.

"I'm afraid you have no choice, Mr. Wheeler. It's that or the state juvenile camp. You will be given a test every month to review the material you will be learning, and if you have a B average in every class when the last report card is issued, the shoplifting charges will be lifted."  Principle Mouto took a deep breath. "You're father has approved of the idea, as well."

"Was he sober?" Joey asked bitterly. No doubt Principle Motou felt sorry for him, and Joey Wheeler did not need pity, nor did he want it. The old man probably looked down on him anyway. He really had to learn to control the whole sober comeback every time someone mentioned his father. With his big mouth, the whole school probably new his dad was an alcoholic.

He crossed his arms and stared down at his Nirvana shirt in silence. Rips and tears lined his skintight jeans. Joey knew that was why so many people sneered at him in the hallway, that and because he was poor.

Those rich bastards couldn't accept that they were the ones draining the economy. Like Seto fucking Kaiba. There was no reason for the almighty Kaiba to help a lowlife like Joey. Unless, of course, the bastard was going to be expecting something in return. Something like a beautiful, sweet sophomore who happened to be Joey's little sister.

When Joey lifted his large brown eyes again, Principle Mouto was staring back in open sympathy, unaware that Joey had already moved on from the whole dad issue. "Mr. Wheeler, as you know, I do not judge students based on their parents behavior, and I would like to say—"

Joey had had enough. He wanted to see Serenity. The chair slid back as he stood. Before he left the room, he turned and smirked over his shoulder. "Save your bullshit for someone else, Mr. M. Tell Kaiba to call me."  In a falsetto voice, he added, "I'll be waiting by the phone!"

Mr. Mouto didn't answer.

For the first time in his life, Joey Wheeler actually regretted shoplifting.


Okay, that was chapter one. Leave me a review, let me know what you think. Next chapter should be up tomorrow sometime.

WOOO! Sorry for any typos. Let me know. The whole typing process was really weird and awkward, and it's almost 1 AM. So, uh...yeah.

The review haiku, by xpennyroyalx:

Click, precious readers

Under swaying trees of green

The button awaits a click