Disclaimer: I do not own Yu Gi Oh.
By Silver Sailor Ganymede
There are only really two types of teenager in this world – the ones that cause trouble, and the ones that cause trouble but never get caught. Jounouchi Katsuya was a typical example of that first kind of teenager; if anything went wrong, Jou was the primary suspect. The sad thing was that, almost ivariabley, he was actually the culprit. A classic example of the second type of teenager would have been someone like, say, Bakura Ryou. He was usually seen to be an extremely quiet, polite boy, but that was just an act he put on, though almost no one ever figured that out.
I suppose then that it is needless to say that Jou was more than a little surprised to find Ryou in the park during school hours. This was neither an unusual place for Jou to be nor an unusual thing for him to be doing – he skipped school at least three times in any given week – but he rarely bumped into anyone on these espcapes from his prison, much less modal students from his school. Still if Jou hadn't been surprised to see Ryou outside of school he most certainly was surprised by the fact that the other boy was lounging about on a hard, rusted metal bench in the park with a can of beer clutched in one hand and a cigarette lazily held in the other. At first Jou thought this was because of one of two things, either a) this boy was Bakura Ryou's evil twin brother or b) he really had taken way too many drugs the night before. In any case he couldn't be bothered to figure it out as the other boy stubbed the smouldering ashes off the end of his cigarette and took another swig of beer, then he pulled the cigarette packet from his pocket and offering one to Jou, who took it and sit down. The boy, who looked so much like Bakura Ryou from his class with his black eyes and strange, white hair, took a deep drag of nicotine laced smoke before tapping the end of the cigarette and letting burning ash fall onto the floor. Jou once again wondered whether this really was Bakura Ryou, but then the other boy opened his mouth to speak and any last doubts were cleared from Jou's mind.
"So, what brings you to be cutting class on such a wonderous day, Jounouchi-san?" the boy asked, his well-spoken English accent clear around the words and somewhat out of place given the situation; after all, who'd ever heard of a well-spoken street punk? But then again who would have ever guessed that Bakura Ryou, one of the highest ranked students in the entire school, would have been cutting classes to drink and smoke all day long? Not Jou, that was for certain.
Jou was quiet for a while then he asked, "Bakura? Is that you?"
"No, it's Kaiba Seto," he rolled his eyes, to which Jounouchi scowled.
"Jeez, I get the picutre. So, Bakura, what brings ya to the park on this lovely school day?"
"My name," came the snappish reply, "is Ryou. Don't call me Bakura. Ever. And as for why I'm here, well I'm waiting for a visit from the Martians."
Jou gave him a confused look and Ryou rolled his eyes in response, "What does it look like to you, idiot?" he sneered, still managing to sound somewhat polite even with sarcasm falling off his words like a waterfall from a cliff.
"Seems like ya not such an innocent little suck-up as I thought ya were," Jou laughed, taking a deep drag of his cigarette before chucking it on the floor. Ryou rolled his eyes in response.
"People actually fall for that act?" he snorted in disbelief. "I always knew I was a good actor but that really is just too much."
"Ya mean ya've done this before?" Jou asked Ryou, who rolled his eyes again.
"No, I've never done this before, that's why I'm not choking to death or completely plastered by now. Tell me, do you have to practice being this stupid or does it just come naturally to you?
"To put it in simple words that you might actually have a vague chance of understanding, yes, I have done this before. I'm worse than you, Jounouchi – I'm just not stupid enough to get caught."
I mentioned before that there are two kinds of teenager. Perhaps we should study their behaviour by observing them in some different situations and thus get to understand their mentalities a little better, don't you think?
For our first example we will look at the behaviour encountered in the most hated and challenging of all the environments a teenager must face – a classroom. The reasons for looking at this in depth first of all include the fact that a) the classroom is a common place to find teenagers no matter how loathe they are to be there, and b) this is a place where the two different types of teenager can be most easily told apart even through the rigid conformity of the schooling systems.
The first kind will see it as the epitome of Hell, for they almost without exception have neither talent nor interest in any form of academics. This often spurs a large portion of their trouble-making, much of with occurs both withing school hours and within school grounds, and ensures that they get in trouble, on average, five times a week in any given week. Generally anarchistic tendencies thrive in this first group, as they despise all nature of the academic shooling system, as it punishes them at every opportunity and rewards them with nothing whatsoever.
The second kind of teenager will generally appear to be the complete opposite to the first when placed in the environment known as school. They will usually attempt to be polite, at least in public, and thus be able to get away with almost everything. When away from the prying eyes of teachers and other figures of 'authority' they are atually far worse troublemakers in any and every way. However no one would believe this had they not seen it with their own eyes; these student's coy mannerisms and almost perfect grades make them the least suspected whenever something goes wrong, even if they are actually the perpatrators of whatever chaos had been caused.
Now we shall return to our case study of Jounouchi Katsuya and Bakura Ryou, in order to be able to better study the differences in behaviour between the types of teenager. Take, for example, a typical Monday morning, in this case the Monday after Jou had first seen a side to Ryou he never would have predicted beforehand. Of course it could have easily been a hallucination of sorts, as Ryou's behaviour seemed no different to Jou, at least at first. The other boy was quiet and polite as ever and had his black eyes glued on the maths problems on the board in front of him. Jou on the other hand was almost asleep on his desk, which wasn't at all surprising considering that a) he hated all academic aspects of school, b) he hated maths class and c) he was too absorbed in staring at the back of Bakura Ryou's head to be concentrating on what he was supposed to be doing, whatever that may have been in the first place.
Jou continued to stare at the back of the other boy's head throughout the lesson. He soon noticed that he had something in his hand: on second sight Jou noticed a flash of flame and concluded that the object in Ryou's hand was a lighter of some sort. He was somewhat more annoyed by this than he was shocked; after all, had it been him the teacher would have noticed immedeatly, resulting in his expulsion from the classroom if not the school. The second time Jou turned his attention to the lighter, he was actually somewhat shocked to find that Ryou was burning pieces of paper under the desk, letting them burn up completely and allowing the flames to lick at the ends of his fingers. This cofused Jou to a certain degree but he soon shrugged it off as he remembered how little he really knew about the modal student a few seats in front of him. It was only when a ruler snapped in front of his desk that Jou broke out of this semi-stupour.
"Jounouchi Katsuya, pay attention," the teacher sneered, glaring at him. "Now go up and answer the equation on the board: it should be easy enough if you have been listening, which I somewhat doubt you have been."
Jou got up but not without rolling his eyes and cursing under his breath. After one quick glane at the equation in question Jou decided that he really couldn't do it: he gave up and returned to his seat, blanking out the teacher's snide comments as he did so. It wasn't long after that Bakura Ryou, whom Jou knew had been too busy burning things, himself included, to be paying the slightest attention, gave the answer while trying desparately to hide the fact that he was bored out of his skull. He then resumed his pyromaniac-like hobby of singing whatever he could get his hands on, and that, as aforementioned, seemed to include his hands themselves. Needless to say that Jou was fuming.
Another environment we must take into consideration if we are to gain full understandin of these behavioural differences is the school outside the classrooms. A vast amount of trouble in schools will occur at some point during the lunch break. For this to be understood in its entirety we must return, yet again, to our case study. The lunchbreak after Jou first witnessed one of Ryou's strange habits would be a classic example of a typical, well almost typical lunchbreak.
For Jou it began in the same way that it usually died – hanging around and smoking in the bathrooms. He leant on the chipped sink behind him, then threw the remainder of his burnt out cigarette down the plug-hole – not that it was an attempt to conceal evidence, as the bathrooms reeked so strongly of cgarette smoke that any idiot could tell what had been going on. The others in there with Jou sniggered when he did this, then quickly returned to vandalising anything and everything they possibly could, hence the fact that messages like 'fuk u' were scrawled all over the place. There are two things we can learn from this – one, teenagers of this type love mindless violence and destruction no matter how minor, and two, they are generally too lazy to even spell profane words in the correct way.
Soon after this Jou left the bathrooms and began his usual walk around the school, just as he always did. There was however a way in which Jou decided to act differetly than he usually did: he decided not to terrorise anyone that day, as he simply hadn't the effort to do so. He decided instead that he was going to the roof; it was easy enough to kick open the trapdoor that led up there and scramble onto the roof itself. He did so and was somewhat relieved that he was the only one up there – then he saw someone else there with him and, as luck would have it, that 'someone' was none other than Bakura Ryou himself. His hair was tied back in a messy ponytail, making him look somewhat androgynous, and he had a cigarette clasped absentmindedly in one hand as he lit and re-lit a lighter in his other hand, burning his fingers yet seeming completely unaware of what he was doing to himself. Although Jou was still confused as to why Ryou was doing this what confused him more was how the other boy was standing and smoking in such plain sight without getting caught. Indeed Ryou seemed to have no fear whatsoever that he might perhaps get caught. Jou shook his head in exasperation – he had seen an extremely strange side to this 'modal student' in the past few days and judging by his perculiar habit of burning things around him, himself included, Jou found reason to believe that there was even more to Bakura Ryou than he had first thought.
Ryou turned around suddenly, his black eyes narrowing somewhat as he did so, but his expresion softened again when he saw that it was only Jou. He beckoned for the other boy to come over then offered him a cigarette, but Jou shook his head in response; knowing his luck they would get caught and he would get the third degree for 'corrupting a modal student' or some other such bollucks. Ryou simply shrugged in response and shoved the packet back into his pocket.
"I figured as much," Ryou muttered as he dropped the stub on the floor, then turned around and sat on the wall behind him. "You have ash on your shirt, by the way."
Jou brushed the offending ash from his shirt then turned around and leant against the wall next to where Ryou had perched himself.
"Have you ever wondered what it would be like?" Ryou's question caught Jou completely off guard.
"Wondered what what would be like?"
"Flying," came the reply, "What would it be like just to jump? What would happen if I jumped from here now? Would I fly? Even if I fall in the end I'll be flying. Death would be a mirror of life then, I suppose; all humans fly in glory, if only for a moment, but we will all fall to death in the end."
Ryou broke out of his thoughts, the dazed expression in his eyes clearing. He struck the lighter, his flames dancing their eternal dance upon his flesh once more.
Jou was confused by Ryou's words; he had never thought in that way, ever.
"Why d'ya do that?" Jou asked, his eyes flicking pointedly over to the lighter Ryou still held.
"It helps," came the almost inaudible reply.
"Helps with what?"
"You don't need to know," Ryou hissed, his voice laced with bitter poison. He stuck the lighter in his pocket and left.
Let us return now to the differences in behavior between the different types of teenager – as you probably noticed in the last situation we studied, these differences are far more profound in any environment where there are no adults present when compared to one in which there are. The reason for this, as aforementioned, is to avert suspicion from themselves to others that are percieved to be far more likey to have caused trouble, be it severe or no.
Another thing you may have seen, which leads us once again to return to our case study, is that the second kind of teengaer will be prone to suicidal thoughts, their mentalites, when fully observed, are often terrifying, their behaviour almost inexplicable. This has been shown to us already in the form of Bakura Ryou's strange musings in the prior part of this study. This type of morbid mentality is far more common within the second kind of teenager, though there are always exceptions to the rule. The first kind of teenager on the other hand will rarely pay any heed to negative aspects of life in a direct way; they are, almost without exception, hedonistic yet on a road that leads to nowhere.
These attitudes almost never give any clues to a person's homelife, though they may give clues as to the attitude each will adopt when faced with particular issues. Indeed while the second kind may be far more prone to acts of suicide and masochism, they often have it somewhat lighter than the first kind. This is not always the case though, and our study seems, in certainty, to be one of those few exceptions to the rule.
It was after school at the end of the week when Jou decided to go to the park. He didn't know why; he just did, but he would regret it soon afterwards. He was about to sit down when he saw another on the swings: it was Bakura Ryou, who, of late, seemed to have the knack of popping up just about everywhere when Jou really didn't want to find him.
"Good afternoon, Jou," Ryou's eyes darkened slightly as he spoke. "Are you up to much right now?"
Jou shrugged in reply and Ryou smiled slightly, nodding to thin air, mouthing silently to nothing. Then he fixed his obsidian eyes on the other once more and spoke again.
"Do you want to come back to mine?" Ryou asked. "You've seemed somewhat curious about my homelife recently, so I've decided to show it to you. Come on."
He got to his feet and grabbed the taller boy's arm with far more strength than Jou would ever have expected from him. It was obvious that Ryou was not going to take 'no' for an answer, and besides that Jou was indeed curious, so why not?
After walking for a while they entered the rougher part of town, a setting far more familiar to Jou, though he would hardly have guessed that Ryou was even aware of it beforehand. He thought for a second that they might have been taking a shortcut to one of the wealthy parts of town, but his thoery was ruptured when Ryou stopped outside a particularly run-down block of flats. He turned around and smiled slightly at Jou.
"I don't suppose you would have guessed that I live here." With that he walked inside, Jou following after him. The stench of decay in there was almost overpowering and showed that this block was almost unoccupied: it was worse than even the block where Jou lived with his drunken father.
"Why d'ya live here of all places, Ryou" Jou asked bluntly and Ryou sighed.
"It's cheap and no one comes here," came the reply. "I wouldn't want to be found, would I?"
Jou didn't get the chance to ask what he meant by that as they soon came to a halt at the end of one of the long corridors. The door in front of them was as rotten as the others, but when opened it revealed that it was inhabited: this was Bakura Ryou's home, and it couldn't have been more different to what he had imagined; there were few pieces of furnature, most of which was singed from fire. The blinds were shut and left the rooms in complete gloom, the shadows seeming to take over the place.
"Have a seat," Ryou gestured for Jou to sit down while he walked into another room, which Ryou presumed was the kitchen. He returned soon after with a bottle of gin and two glasses, which he set down on the table before taking the seat opposite Jou, who was still staring around the room in shock.
"So, you weren't expecting this, were you?" Ryou asked although he already knew the answer.
Jou shook his head in response, "I thought ya'd be one of those rich kids from the partta town where all the stiffs are."
Ryou laghed, "I was."
"Then why entcha there now?"
Ryou's expression became stormy, "I killed them," he replied.
Jou's eyes snapped open further at that statement and he found himself listening attentitively as Ryou continued.
"I killed my parents and my sister a few years back," he spat. "The fire ate them up before I could stop it; all I'd wanted was to see it all burn, but not them, not them…" He shook his head and took the lighter from his pocket, then commenced to further burn himself, to run his fingers through the small flames. He threw it down on the table then took poured a glass of gin, which he drained in one gulp before pouring himself another and drinking more slowly that time.
"You can't even begin to understand it," he hissed, "you never will. People like you will go around killing others for sport. You have no consciences, no morals: no minds. Hedonism isn't always a good thing."
Jou opened his mouth to speak but found himself silenced. He had just enough time to think about how potently the other boy tasted of alcohol before he drew back stunned. Ryou was lying back in the chair as though nothing had happened, the glass still clutched limply in his hand.
"What didya do that for?" Jou asked, glaring at Ryou as he sprang to his feet. "You tell me all this and then you go and fucking do that. Whaddya think of me really, coz I aint gonna put up withya stupid little crush or whattever that was supposed to be!"
"To be honest, Jou, I think that you're a complete fool," Ryou sneered down at the other boy as he licked the last of the gin from his lips. "You're an idiot who will be blind to the truth until the day he dies, no matter how hard it hits him in the face. Life is just a game: a game that no one ever wins, but you can get a few steps closer to doing so with every lie you tell. Life is a game of reverse psychoogy: just show yourself to be what you are not and you'll be fine, and if you can't take it why don't you just go and kill yourself now?"
What he never realised is how much he contradicted everything he was with that one simple statement.