I have been working on this story for some time, and have finally decided to post it. And as my first reviewer so KINDLY pointed out (burn in hell, bitch) the currency in Japan is indeed yen, so I will correct that as soon as possible. Until then, just ignore it, please! And so what if Kaiba wants to walk inside of taking the limo? He's Seto Kaiba, dammit! He can do what he wants!
Chapter One: Second Chance
Kaiba looked down in horror at what he was seeing…his own body, bloody and battered, lying on a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors and nurses trying to revive it.
Was he dead? Was he a ghost? Why was he seeing such a horrible sight? It had to be a dream. But then Kaiba remembered what had happened earlier today, before this so-called dream…
Seto Kaiba was headed home from a very important meeting at Kaiba Corp. Usually he would take the limo home, but for some reason felt like walking instead. Besides, he told himself, I need the exercise.
It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was beginning to set, giving off a warm orange glow. It was quiet in the city, which seemed rather unusual, but ideal to Kaiba. He preferred the quiet.
He passed a park and noticed some children playing with the playground equipment. He started to think about Mokuba, and what he was probably doing right now. Mokuba wasn't the kind of kid who would play at a park; he was more mature than that, maybe too mature for his age.
I'll have to do something with him this weekend, Kaiba thought to himself.
"Whaddaya mean, I'm two dollars short! That can't be right!"
Kaiba's attention turned to a grocery store he was passing by. As the doors opened, he heard a familiar voice carry outside. Looking through the automatic glass doors, he saw none other than Jounouchi Katsuya, the annoying best friend of Kaiba's rival, Yugi Mouto. Joey seemed to be arguing with the cashier. Kaiba was in no particular hurry to get home, and found this situation to be quite amusing, so he went inside to see how it would turn out.
No one noticed Kaiba come in, so he went over to a display of cereal that was on sale so no one would see him and looked on at the argument.
"I'm sorry, sir, but your total is seven fifty-eight, and you are two dollars and fifty-eight cents short," the cashier was saying.
"All I have is a five, isn't that enough?" Joey asked angrily.
"I'm sorry, sir, but you must pay the exact amount."
"That much for just this!" Joey pointed to the items he was buying: a loaf of bread, a jug of milk, and a bag of chips.
"Perhaps you should leave out the chips?" the cashier suggested.
Joey was enraged. "I can't leave anything out! I gotta eat, ya know!" He began to dig in his pocket for some extra change. "I might have a quarter or something, hang on…"
Kaiba watched Joey digging around in his jacket pockets for money. Then, for some strange reason, he stepped up to the cashier and pulled out his wallet. "I'll pay for it," he said. "How much was it? Seven-something?"
Joey stared at him with a mix of shock and gratitude on his face. The cashier gave Joey back his five and handed him his bag. Kaiba went out the door.
"Hey Kaiba! Wait a sec!" Joey hurried after him until he was walking right next to him. "That was a little out of character for you, but thanks for what you did back there. I really appreciate it."
"Think nothing of it, Katsuya," said Kaiba sternly. "I just couldn't bear to watch you suffer like an idiot at the hands of a cashier. It was pathetic to watch."
Joey frowned and slowed down a bit, then started to catch up to him again. "Sure… it's not like you to help someone besides yourself. But now I feel like I owe you or something. Is there anything I can do to pay you back?"
"You can start by leaving me alone."
"I'm serious! When someone helps me out of a jam, I have to repay them. In this case, literally. And let's face it—you're not the type to do something nice unless it's for your benefit. Do you want me to give you back the money?"
Just great, Kaiba thought. Now I've picked up a stray. I should have left him where I found him and not bothered to help. Wait…why did he help him anyway? That's not like me…
"Katsuya…" Kaiba's thoughts jumped back to what Joey was purchasing and how he didn't have enough to buy it. "You don't have to pay me back."
"Well, I know I'm not rich or anything, or get a big, fat allowance like you, but still…"
"Keep your money. I don't want it."
Joey was a little relieved, but he wasn't going to give up so easily. "Want me to wash your limo or something?"
Kaiba stopped walking, a little annoyed. He wasn't going to give up, was he? "Listen, Katsuya. Seven bucks is nothing—"
"Seven fifty-eight," Joey corrected.
"—compared to what I make everyday at my company," continued Kaiba, ignoring the interruption. "You don't have to pay me back, in any way. This was a one time only thing, so don't expect kindness of any sort in the future." He started walking again.
"Don't worry, I don't." Joey was still following him, a little more behind him though. "It's just that…money is a big issue with me. I don't have a lot, only enough to get by. Whenever someone helps me money-wise, I just…feel like I have to show them how much it means to me and pay them back, somehow."
Suddenly, without warning, Kaiba's briefcase fell out of hands and papers went flying around the sidewalk. Kaiba got down and started to pick them up. Joey helped him.
What was wrong with him? Why was he feeling…pity for Katsuya? Normally, Kaiba wouldn't feel anything at all for this mutt, but for some reason… what the hell was it?
Kaiba went onto the street to get some papers that flew across the road. Seto Kaiba cares for no one, he told himself. No stupid sob story like that should have any effect on him. Had he gone soft? Why did I help him? Why…
"KAIBA, WATCH OUT!"
Kaiba looked up at Joey, who was running towards him. He turned around and stared into a pair of headlights heading straight for him, frozen like a deer. Something shoved him in the side violently just as something else slammed hard into his chest at the same time. His head smashed into something, a sharp pain seared through his body, his vision became blurred and red, a piercing screech, the sound of shattering glass and screams—his own screams?—filled the air, and then black…complete darkness…
Kaiba stared in horror at the sight before him…his lifeless body, covered in blood…why wasn't it moving?
"Hey! What's going on!" Kaiba reached for one of the doctor's shoulders. "Why am I—" He stopped when his hand went right through the doctor. "What the—?" He looked back at the body that looked like his own. Then he realized—it was him.
"This isn't a dream…I'm really dead…oh my god…" he felt like he was going to be sick. How could a ghost be sick? He didn't care… What happened to Joey? What would Mokuba do if he found out…?
"No, Seto Kaiba, you are not dead…yet."
Kaiba looked away from his dead body and searched for the source of the voice. His eyes fell upon a young woman standing beside him. She was a strange looking person, wearing a blue and white kimono and holding a tall, golden staff with golden rings dangling from it. She was really out of place. How come no one else noticed her? Was she dead too?
The girl looked at him. "Your body still has life in it; it's just suffering from the impact of the crash and is in a state of shock. But your subconscious is still working."
"I know this may all sound strange and confusing to you. But it's really quite simple—"
"Wait!" Kaiba shouted suddenly. "Who are you? Can't anyone else see you? What the hell happened!"
The girl looked surprised for a moment, and then lightly tapped herself on the head with her staff. "Oops, I should start from the beginning…My name is Yume. I am the spirit guide of the dead. I guide all souls to the afterlife when they die."
"Die...? So I am dead!" Kaiba said accusingly.
"Not quite! Let me explain!" said Yume, waving her hands quickly. "Right now, your body is in a state of shock, or a coma, if you will. The car crash would have killed you, but for some reason, your soul refuses to give in to death. You have unfinished business, maybe?"
Kaiba looked at his body, his face just as pale as it was. "Wh-what car crash?"
"You don't remember? When you went out on the road, a car came speeding towards you. You didn't see it in time, and you were hit. An ambulance was called, and the two of you were rushed here, to the hospital. You should be dead right now, Seto."
Kaiba didn't say anything. He was still trying to make sense of all this.
"What you are now is not a ghost exactly, just a soul, or the subconscious of your brain. Since you, the subconscious, are out of the brain of your body, it can't function. Therefore, it is useless and remains in a coma."
"Then can't you just put me back in my body?" asked Kaiba. Normally, this would all seem absurd to him, but he hadn't been himself lately. He had always thought that when he died, that was it. No ghost, no heaven, nothing. But this was just crazy…
"I'm sorry, but it's not that easy," said Yume, pulling out a scroll and unrolling it. "According to our list, you were due in the afterlife today."
"List?" Kaiba couldn't believe what he was hearing. This was all too much. "This has to be a dream…there's no other explanation. This is all just a bunch of nonsense!"
WHACK! Yume brought the top of her staff down on his head. He rubbed it painfully.
"No, Seto, this is real," said Yume, looking at him hard. "And until you believe that and come with me to the afterlife, your body will remain in a coma in which you will never wake up and you will forever be a lost soul wandering the earth."
Kaiba looked at his body again, which was being cleaned up by the nurses and moved into another room. He watched them take it away then said, more to himself, "I'm not dreaming…it's really over…my life is…over…"
"Let go of this world, Seto, and the pain will disappear."
"Who are you to tell me what to do! You don't even know me!" he yelled at her in mixed anguish.
"I'm only trying to help you," she said calmly. "Now come with me. Your time has come to an end."
"I won't go." Kaiba said defiantly.
"But you must."
"I don't have to listen to the likes of you!" he shouted.
Yume sighed. She knew he was going to continue to resist. "I know it's hard to accept, but Seto—you're dead. And if you don't come with me now, someone else will come for you, someone less likely to tolerate your resistance. Even if you do remain in this world, what good would it do? You'll only be a ghost, with no purpose but to wander the earth for all eternity!"
Kaiba turned to face her, an incredulous look across his face. "But I can't leave! There's so much I have left to do! I can't die now! What about Mokuba?"
Yume looked surprised. She hadn't expected this. Then she smiled. "It's not your time to die, huh? That's what they all say, but none of them really have much to live for…"
"But I do! I can't leave Mokuba, not now! I won't go! Not now! Please, Yume!" Kaiba actually got down on his knees and grabbed the bottom of her kimono. His voice shook. "Isn't there something I can do? I'm begging you! I can't leave him…please…he needs me…"
Yume looked at him, not knowing what to do. Then she smiled gently. "I understand. I think I know a way I can help you, Seto. Come with me." She started to lead the way down the hall of the hospital.
"Where are you taking me? To the afterlife?" asked Kaiba uncertainly.
"No. We are going to see Jounouchi Katsuya."
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter, despite my ranting at the beginning. Please be kind in your reviews, it was hard enough for me to get the courage to post this story...:(