Author's Notes: Mai Wheeler's husband died mysteriously thirteen years ago, leaving her with no clues about his death. Alone and depressed, Mai meets a young boy in an outreach center who seems to be like her dead husband in so many ways. How does he know so much about her? Could this boy be Joey? This is my new Joey/Mai story, and I hope you will enjoy. If you are a Mai and Joey fan, check out An Exile's Stone Heart written by yours truly.
Disclaimer: I still do not own Yu-Gi-Oh.
Prologue: Trouble that can't be named…
"She's so lonely."
A young boy remarked, while watching a young blonde haired woman as she slept. Her hair was ruffled, and he could see the remnants of tears stain her smooth cheeks. Her skin was flesh that should be flushed with color had lost its rosy hue. Now the sickly pallor of her skin made her appear older and tired. He clearly remembered a time when she hadn't looked so haggard. He had never remembered her as an unattractive woman, and even with a face tired and stressed, she looked beautiful.
The child dressed in white, who appeared no older than twelve years old, frowned as her tears began to stain her soft linen pillows once more. Though he seemed to be a child, he was wise beyond his years. He knew that he would have to reunite with the woman that haunted his memories and tugged at his heart. As she sniffled, tossing and turning she still would not wake from her slumber. He wanted to wipe her tears away, to erase the liquid from ever having marred her beautiful features. He felt as if he would never be able to banish the pain from her life. Having already witnessed such despair before, he believed the woman could heal. He knew she would, but her trial would be difficult. A man standing beside him, with dark brown skin and a weathered face smiled at the youth at his side.
"You must go to her. She needs you now more than ever."
The boy frowned, his eyes having never left the young woman's sight. Through the pool of crystal clear waters, he could watch her as she slept worked, laughed, and cried. He had been watching her for what felt like eons, though the time had actually been significantly shorter. He wanted to help her, but he was not sure how. In his youthful body, his soul was old, older than what most could comprehend. He was lost in thought, completely oblivious to everything around him. Above him an ethereal skyline astounded common observers and he knew what he saw was indeed amazingly beautiful. Still, not even the mystical skyline above him could take his eyes away from the saddened woman he watched. The passing comets and twinkling stars could not compare to the angel that he watched sleep.
"I don't think I can. She's never been one to believe in things by faith alone. Expect for love, she believes nothing without first seeing and experiencing. She will not trust me. Not in this body. She's lost everything. Even if I manage to convince her, my presence in her life will do nothing but bring more her heartache. I do not desire this for her..."
He trailed off then, turning his eyes back to his companion. The man before him, while appearing to be old and weathered, was younger than the boy himself. When he first began to understand his current state of being, the man had been there to assist him. When Joey had glimpsed a bit of his companions past, he realized that the man looked completely different from his past self.
"She will die if you do not go. She will perish because of her pain—save her while there is still time. When we can accept that the past can never be changed, we are finally free. She can break free of her despair, if you are there to help her along the way. If not, I fear that she will never know paradise. She shall never know unencumbered freedom, nor will she taste eternal happiness."
"What if she does die? She would only come here anyway, and our troubles would be solved."
The blond youth suggested, furrowing his brow in the thought. The man frowned at this comment, obviously disturbed by the suggestion.
"Do not even suggest such a thing! We know what happens to those that take their own lives. She would not come to this place. She would be forever gone, never to have her uniqueness again. Would you wish this upon your soul mate?"
The boy whirled to face his friend's accusations. He wanted to hurt the man at the moment, to punch and bite and kick. He wanted to do all that was expected from such a small, puny vessel. However, the place in which they existed was free from pain. Malignant thoughts were fleeting and violence was impossible. He knew deep down that the man only wished to help him, because even he could see how badly he would need it. Nevertheless, for him to suggest that he wished for such terrible circumstances to befall his soul mate was an unforgivable offense. Exhaling deeply, the youth calmed down.
"You know that I would do anything for that woman. I have given my life so that she may live, and yet her life is meaningless in her eyes. She is unhappy and wishes for death. I will always do my best so that she shall never know pain like this again. I can't allow her to kill herself. I need her, as do so many others. I feel as if I have failed her, Galen."
The dark skinned man nodded, walking upon the silver sand with bare feet. His white tunic and gray pants made him fit in quite nicely with the beach like surroundings. They both could change the appearance of paradise, but now was not the time. Suddenly the youth felt a shift in the wind, and the pull in his belly which he was now familiar with caused a shiver down his spine. No longer was he standing on the soft sand of paradise. Beneath his feet were colors that he would never be able to define. The hues were dark, medium, and light in tone. They swirled beneath his feet like colorful clouds too excited to remain still.
"Are you ready to go home, Joey?"
Joey smiled slightly, squeezing the older man's shoulder gently.
"Home is where the heart is. Wherever she is, is where I will always call home. Will I see you again Galen?"
Galen smiled wistfully at his protégé. Though he knew what was in store for Joey, he was not allowed to divulge such information. The young man would learn in time. Until then, he knew that Joey would be alright.
"I won't be there to guide you Joey. It's time you learned to soar on your own wings, and catch the one person who will surely fall without your help. Good luck, Joey."
Galen replied, casting his companion one last glance. Joey smiled weakly, wanting forever hold in his memory the image of his teacher and friend. Before he could utter a goodbye, he succumbed to the darkness.
Footnotes: That's it for now. I hope that you like this story so far. I did promise a new Mai/Joey story this fall, and I have delivered. Thanks for reading this story and please review. This is the only I know that you are reading. Please, please review. See you next update. Peace!