Joey Wheeler came into school late again that morning. The teachers weren't very pleased and neither was the principle. This was the eighth time in two weeks. Joey couldn't afford to miss any more school. Joey took his seat and did his best not to look at anyone since they were all looking at him.
"Back to the lesson," said the teacher, regaining the class' attention, "Like I said, General Douglas MacArthur was a very important person during the great world wars and many other wars."
Joey tuned the teacher out and sat in his seat staring into space. If only they all knew why I came in late, they wouldn't bitch at me then. But there's no way I can tell them. None of them would understand. Joey came back to reality when the bell rang. He picked up his stuff and headed to third period.
At lunch Joey decided to sit by himself and eat. He hadn't been hanging around the gang very much lately and he could tell it was starting to bother them. I'll just eat with them tomorrow to show them that everything's okay with me. I have a feeling though that Yami won't believe it.
Joey finished eating his lunch and made his way to his next class, at least this next teacher liked him.
Walking through the halls, looking at the things on the walls, Joey accidentally ran into Seto Kaiba. His eyes widened in horror, the last time he'd done that Kaiba'd punched him and told him to get lost. He backed away slightly as Kaiba glowered down at him.
"Hey Kaiba I'm really sorry man, it was my fault, I wasn't watching where I was going," said Joey, gulping and taking another step back.
"Stupid Mutt," growled Kaiba as he walked off.
Joey breathed a breath of relief and headed off down the hallway.
Seto walked away from Joey and into an empty room. He'd noticed that Joey had come in late to school for awhile, but he couldn't figure out why. It's not like him to be late. There's something he's hiding. But what is it? Kaiba would find out, one way or another.
Joey hopped on his bike and headed for the arcade, there was no way he was going home this early. He biked down the streets for awhile when a black car pulled up next to him and two men jumped out and grabbed him. The men pulled him back into the alleyway next to the street and slammed him up against the brick wall of one of the buildings.
"Hey let me go!" Joey yelled trying to fight the men off. The men had a firm grip on Joey and weren't about to let go. Then from out of nowhere a third man walked up and punched Joey right smack in the jaw. Joey's head cracked against the bricks and his jaw seared with pain.
"Your father wants you to come home after school from now on," said the man who had punched him.
Joey realized these men worked for his father and he didn't have a choice one way or another. The two men who were holding him, tied Joey's hands behind his back and quickly threw him into the back to the car.
Seto picked up his phone after the third ring. He was in his work room at home and didn't really want to be bothered, but for some reason he felt this phone call was important.
"Hello?" he said as he returned to typing on his computer.
"Kaiba?" said a familiar voice.
"Yami!" said Seto shocked, "What in the world are you calling me for?"
"I know I shouldn't be calling you but I have this feeling that something's not right with Joey and I know you've noticed something's wrong too. Do you think he's hiding something from us?" asked Yami.
"Why should I care if the stupid Mutt's hiding something? He's not my friend that's for sure, and what does it matter if I've noticed that something's wrong with him? It's not like I'm going to waltz right up to him and ask him," said Seto coldly.
"Kaiba! Would you for once care about something else other than your stupid pride!" growled Yami as he walked into the room.
Seto spun around to see Yami slam the door shut.
"You can't just walk in here!" Seto yelled, furious that Yami had the audacity to break in to his place.
"And you can't just ignore some one you could help!" growled Yami, glaring at Kaiba.
Seto clenched his jaw, he didn't have a fast snappy come back for that. He sat there glaring at Yami for a moment. It was like his ancient cousin to ask him for something and he could just tell him no.
"Fine," ground out Seto, "Tell me what you want me to do?"
"Just talk to him, see if you can find out what's wrong. He won't talk to us, his friends. I know you're going to say, and why in the world would he talk to you, well I think you and him are more alike than you give yourselves credit for," said Yami.
Seto raised an eyebrow. Him and Wheeler alike? Then again if being opposites in almost every way was like being alike, then it did make sense to him.
"Fine, but if he won't talk to me, I'm not trying again," said Seto.
"Thank you Kaiba, that's all I wanted you to say," said Yami and with that he left.
How in the world do I get myself into these types of situations? First it was the whole heart of the cards, then my destiny and my past, and now it's helping that dumb Dog. I really think I need to get away from it all for once. I think I actually need a vacation.
Seto leaned back in his chair and rubbed his temples, he had a lot to accomplish tomorrow.
Joey cried out as his father beat the shit out of him. He hadn't done anything wrong, but that never stopped his father from beating him. Joey could lashed out, but the last time he'd tried that, his father's buddies joined in. And at this point, Joey couldn't fight off ten guys with his hands tied behind his back. He was quickly yanked to his feet by his hair and pinned against his bedroom door. He looked at his father through tear streaked eyes, Why?, his eyes asked.
His father opened the door and pushed Joey in, slamming it shut after Joey fell to the floor. Joey sat there in tears, his body trembling. He finally got to his feet and made for the drawer in his desk. He opened the drawer and pulled out his pocket knife. He'd gotten really good at cutting the ropes of his wrists when they were tied behind his back. Then again, when you had years to practice, you normally did get good at it.
The bindings fell from his wrists as he finally finished sawing through them. He put the knife away, closing the drawer and went to lay on his bed. He held his only pillow close to his chest, he felt like such a baby, but at the moment he didn't care, the pillow was the only comforting thing he had. After awhile he fell asleep, tears still staining his face and bruises forming on his body.
Joey woke up at about one in the morning. He rubbed at his face and looked at his clock. He got off the bed and looked for a clean pair of clothes. After changing he headed for his window. He opened it slowly so it wouldn't make any noise. He climbed out of it just as quietly as he had opened it. He dropped down into the bushes, he never knew if his father asked his buddies to stay and watched the house. After seeing no one for a few minutes, he stood up and shut the window. He quickly took off, he didn't no where he would go, but he'd get as far away from here as possible.
In a few minutes Joey found himself at the city park, he'd been running since he'd left the house and he quickly found a bench to sit on. He knew he couldn't linger, the park was not a good place to be in the middle of the night. He pulled his coat tighter around him as a cold wind picked up. His head was throbbing from early and every bruise was a searing pain. He hadn't realized that he was hurting that bad until, he sat down.
Damn it! I can't go to school like this! Everyone will ask questions...then my friends will think something is wrong. This isn't fair! I didn't do anything to deserve this. I never have. What did I ever do to deserve this from the one person I thought loved me? I just want a nice home, where I have parents who love me. I want everything I've never had.
Joey felt more hot tears run down his face. He knew he'd never get those things and he knew he had to go to school. He survive, he didn't know how yet, but he knew he would.
Seto headed off to school after taking Mokuba to school, it was Wednesday and the high school had late start. Hopefully Joey would manage to get there on time today. He stepped from his limo and walked up to the front of the school. He really didn't want to be here, especially since he had to talk to Joey.
Oh well. I might as well get this over with so I don't have to do it again, let alone put it off to the point it drives me crazy.
Seto walked into the school and went to put his things in his first period class. Joey wasn't in there, which meant the Dog either wasn't at school yet or he was somewhere in the school. Seto decided on the second option and went out in search of the Mutt.
Joey sat in the school locker room. He wasn't going to go to class until the last possible minute. He heard the door to the locker room open and looked up in surprise. No one had any kind of P.E. class until third period, so who would be coming in here.
Seto had looked everywhere and he still couldn't find Wheeler. The only place he hadn't checked was the locker room and he really didn't want to go in there, but he didn't really have a choice. He opened the door and walked in.
Joey gasped as Kaiba walked in. Why in the world is he in here! This is not good! If he sees me like this he'll tease me and I don't need that right now! Joey turned his back to Kaiba and sat there silently. He hoped Kaiba would just ignore him and leave soon.
Seto saw Joey and looked at the blond confused. Why in the world would he be sitting in here by himself? Seto walked over to Joey and stood behind the boy.
"Wheeler," he said coldly, "we need to talk."
Joey tensed, he really hadn't been expecting that and he really didn't want to talk to Kaiba either.
"About what?" asked Joey, back still to Kaiba.
"Well first off, how about you turn around and face me like a man," said Seto grabbing Joey's shoulder and spinning the blond around.
Joey yelped in pain as Kaiba got a firm hold of his bruised shoulder. He hung his head, so Kaiba wouldn't see his tears or the bruises on his face.
Seto thought Joey yelping in pain was odd. He hadn't grabbed the Mutt that hard, had he? He noticed Joey kept his gaze on the floor. Great he thought I'm going to have to be nice to him and squat down to talk to him. Talk about losing dignity. Seto squatted down to try and look Joey in the face, but he still couldn't see the blond's face.
"Wheeler, what's going on with you? You've been late to school, you're not talking to your friends, and you just cried out as if you were in pain. Seriously, you're acting like the Dog I say you are," said Seto.
Joey looked up and glared right into Kaiba's icy blue eyes. He couldn't believe Kaiba could be that cruel.
"What does it matter to you! You've never cared before! Why start now! Why try to talk to me when you hate my guts! Why!" yelled Joey, anger and pain woven into the words.
Seto's eyes grew wide at the bruises on Joey's face as well as with what Joey had said. He hadn't been expecting the blond to look like he'd had the shit beaten out of him.
"Wheeler, what happened to you?" was all Seto could think to say as he reached out to touch Joey's abused face.
Joey jerked away, tears flowing freely from his eyes and anger evident in his face. He did not want Kaiba to be here, to see him like this, to ask him these stupid questions.
"You wouldn't understand," Joey growled, "so why don't you just leave?"
"Joey who did this to you?" Seto asked, slightly disturbed that he had for once used the Dog's first name.
Joey was also shocked at the use of his first name, but he wasn't about to let Kaiba see that.
"That's none of your business," Joey growled, making to get up and leave.
Seto grabbed Joey arm and pulled the blond back as he stood up himself. He now did want to know what was wrong with Joey. Maybe Yami had been right...
"If someone's beating you Joey you shouldn't let them, go to the police or something. Don't just let them get away with it," said Seto, looking deep into Joey's brown eyes.
"I'll be dead before I even reach the police station if I even try," said Joey, glaring at Kaiba, "Now if you don't mind, would you please let go of me?"
"Not until you talk to me," said Seto.
"I'm not going to talk to you, what part of that don't you understand?" asked Joey trying hold back the next onslaught of tears.
Seto looked away from Joey, but didn't let the blond go. He really didn't want to share his past with the Mutt, but if seemed he didn't have a choice.
"Joey, I understand you don't want to talk and I understand you're hurting, but you're not the first person to have gone through something like this. I know exactly how you're feeling because I went through exactly the same thing with my adoptive father," said Seto, there was nothing in his voice to say he was lying and it wasn't cold like normal.
Joey looked at Kaiba shocked. Did he really go through what I'm going through? He couldn't have, could he? But if he has, does this mean I can talk to him? I'm so confused, what am I supposed to do? Joey had no idea what to do, but he definantly knew he couldn't hold back his pain any longer. He fell to his knees and sobbed; he hurt so bad, mentally, physically, emotionally. He didn't know what to do anymore.
Seto sank to his knees and pulled Joey to him. Yami was right, we are alike. In more ways than one. He wrapped his arms around Joey and just held him. He didn't know what else to do. He'd never had any one to comfort him when his father had abused him. Holding Joey was the only thing he could think of to do.