Inu Kaiba: Polarshipping fic for round 3 of the contest.


It was late. REALLY late. Joey was barely awake. But he struggled to keep his eyes open. He needed this job to be able to pay the rent. Without it, he'd be living on the streets.

Yugi had said to him once, "Joey, if you EVER feel like that job and your schoolwork is too much for you, quit your job. You can come live with me. There will always be room at my house for you."

At the time, Joey had just smiled and nodded. And also at the time, he had known he would never accept the offer, no matter what happened.

It was 12 PM. Nothing was going on. His shift was over in a couple of hours. And no one wanted any pizza. This was the worst part of having the late late shift.

There was nothing to do, and the television only showed three channels. One channel showed a baseball game, another showed the news, and the last showed an old movie from the 1920s.

Joey kept flipping through all the channels, trying to choose what to watch. Finally the 'chef' (that was what they were supposed to call the guy who made the pizzas, actually, he forced them to call him that) covered the mouthpiece off the phone and yelled at him to stop flipping channels.

He decided on the rerun of the baseball game, mumbling about the stupid 'chef' who was always on the phone to his girlfriend who probably cheated on him. The chef mumbled back about Joey's good for nothing 'father'.

They both went back to what they were doing, Joey sitting there watching baseball, the chef continuing his phone conversation.

Joey's eyes glazed over, he was never a big fan of baseball, and it always bored him. To pass the time, he though back to when he was younger. He remembered how they used to have festivals at his school. One time, Division 631 of the Firefighters came to the festival. At the time, he could think of nothing more than getting on that shiny fire truck.

He wanted so badly to become a fire fighter after that. He went home with a smile on his face… That was the day his mom had told him about a 'divorce'. She smiled when she said it, as if it was a good thing. As if it would give them the money they needed.

But it was never a good thing. That night, his mother drove away with his sister Serenity, and for months, he never saw her again.

Joey tried to cheer up by telling his father about his day, the way he had always talked to his mother. His father got so angry over the whole thing; he slapped Joey across the face.

When Joey cried out, it turned into a full on beating, with his father screaming, "BEING A FIRE FIGHTER IS AN IDIOTIC IDEA! PEOPLE DIE ANYWAYS, WHAT'S THE POINT IN SAVING THEM?! YOU DON'T EVEN GET PAID! DON'T YOU EVER TELL ME YOU WANT TO BE SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU MONEY!"

His father had been so angry over the 'divorce' that he beat him into unconsciousness, and left him there. Joey didn't like to dwell on his sad past, but it was times like this, when he was fully grown, that he REALLY wanted to be a firefighter. He could help people, save them from dying, save them so he could feel like he saved himself.

He sat there with his head in his hands, trying his darnedest not to cry, when the 'chef' came over and tapped him on the shoulder.

"We got an order for pizza."

Joey looked up, plastered a fake smile on his face, and nodded. "What's the address, and what kind of pizza?"

"They just wanted cheese pizza. Although they did specify extra cheesy…," he said. "I'll give you the address when it's done."

Joey was forced to wait another ten minutes in silence until the pizza was ready. The address was scrawled out on the back of a note card with the address of the pizza parlour and the number imprinted on it.

Joey got on his bike (it wasn't as if he could afford a car) and pedalled as fast as he could in the direction. It was dark, there were no cars on the road, and he couldn't help but feel frightened for himself.

What if he was mugged… for the pizza? He could lose his job! He was too proud to have to ask Yug' for somewhere to stay. As he pedalled on, things were going good, even though every so often he noticed a pair of angry eyes staring out at him. A shudder went down his spine, he tried to inhale some spit and choked, but still he kept on.

When he reached the building, he gazed up… and up… and up. He gulped. He was afraid of heights. Even going into tall apartment buildings scared him. But he pressed on; otherwise he would lose his job. As he bent down to lock his bike up, something tapped him on the shoulder. He almost screamed, but a hand clapped over his mouth.

"Joey. It's just me, Tristan," the voice said.

"Oh, hi Tristan…," Joey said, trying to keep the fright out of his voice. "What brings you here?"

"I live here," Tristan replied.

"So, did you order the pizza?" Joey asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Me? Nah, I just got home."

"Do you know who it could be?" Joey pressed on, handing him the address card.

"No, I don't really know anyone else here, except on my floor."

"Oh… Well, I better go deliver this now. Later pal!" He slapped his friend on the back, retrieving the card, than dashed into the building… to his death.

Tristan pounded his fist into his open palm. "I just remembered… That's Mai's address! Oh crap… Poor Joey."

He could do nothing more than shrug as he headed into the apartment, muttering a silent prayer for his friend.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Joey ran up all the stairs, just to keep his mind off the fact that he had to go up to the 14th floor… out of 20! Luckily, there was no floor 13, or he would have collapsed.

He reached the door; double checked to make sure the address was right, paused to catch his breath, than rang the doorbell. To his shock and astonishment, Mai Valentine answered the door.

"Why, Joey, I didn't know you were a pizza delivery boy." She said, a smirk twitching at the corners of her lips. "How much do I owe you?"

"8.50," he said, barely above a whisper.

"I'm sorry?" she replied, indicating she had heard wrong.

"$8.50," he said again, enunciating the numbers slowly and clearly.

"Oh, I thought you said 50 dollars, silly me!" She replied, her tongue sticking out between her lips as she hit herself on the head with her clenched fist.

They both stood there for a moment. Finally, Mai spoke. "Do you want to share the pizza with me? I'll never be able to finish it by myself."

"I don't know if I should…" He replied. "My supervisor might get m-"

At that moment, his cell phone rang. When he answered, it was his supervisor, telling him they were closing early for the night. He didn't think anyone else would come in, and his wife was angry at him for being out so late all the time.

"Do you have to go?" Mai said; a silent "don't go" evident in her eyes.

"No, my supervisor was just calling to say I have the rest of the night off."

"Perfect!" Mai giggled, and before Joey could say, "Oh, my!" Mai pulled him in and slammed the door, putting the lock and chain on.

She offered him a seat on the couch, where they sat to watch real cable, and opened the pizza box. Joey immediately grabbed a slice, and began eating it crust first.

It was a strange tradition, and as Mai watched, she was intrigued by it. She picked out her own slice and began to eat it.

Joey proceeded to eat another four slices, while Mai only managed to eat one more slice in that time. As Joey picked up the last slice, Mai decided to join him in eating. She bit the slice he was eating from the other end, and as the two ate away at the slice, they eventually met at the middle, lips stained in greasy cheese and tomato sauce.

As they finished the slice, their lips met, and Joey took this as an invitation to finally kiss the girl he'd been pining over ever since Battle City. The kiss delved into something a lot deeper, and soon, Mai was leading Joey to her room.

As they finished their lovemaking, Mai fast asleep, Joey could not sleep at all. He stared at the wall, until he realized something. She loved him. She loved him a lot, she had known all along he worked there; it was a plan of hers. He should've known.

As he drifted off into dream world, he realized. Firefighter, pizza delivery boy, lawyer, father, lover, brat, idiot… None of that mattered. Because she loved him and he loved her and that was the only thing that mattered.