Disclaimer: The creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! is Kazuki Takahashi. Not I.
Warning 1: Thou shall not steal. Plagiarism is a dastardly deed. Thank you.
Warning 2: No beta reader. Apologies for everything wrong in this short story. This one-shot follows the English dub of the anime and the Americanized names. Hopefully, Joey Wheeler is not too out of character.
Timeline: after episode 142 (The Final Face Off – Part 5) but before the whole duel marathon with Dartz and his crew (Season Four)
'words' - Joey's thoughts
La luz en lengua (1)
By Jan J. (or P.J.P.), Little Sister's Keepress
"I can't take this anymore!" moaned Joey Wheeler. With a dreary sigh, he bowed his head over the muddle of tattered papers that pooled around the edges of his textbook.
"It's all Spanish to me," the baffled blond murmured to himself. A sudden slam shuttled him out of his musings.
"Big brother, where are you?" a soothing voice echoed from the hallways.
"I'm in the kitchen, Serenity," he called out, eager to escape the eclipse that Spanish had cast on his mind.
A flurry of footsteps followed, and Serenity Wheeler appeared in the kitchen's entrance. She smiled joyfully at her brother but then frowned when she spotted him grimacing at the paper parade that dotted the table.
"Oh, Joey, what's the matter?" she asked as she leaned over his shoulder in an effort to uncover the source of his troubles.
"Ah, it's nothing really, sis," he sheepishly replied, stretching his left arm upwards to gently brush away the creases on her forehead. "Just a bit of confusion with some words in Spanish for this essay I have to write."
Serenity immediately straightened up and donned on a determined demeanor. "I can help, big brother!" she exclaimed.
"Say what?" Joey lifted up his head to glance at her hopefully.
"At my school, the curriculum requires a foreign language unit, too," explained Serenity, "so I selected Spanish. Don't worry. I'm certain that together we can compose a great essay!"
"Really, sis?" he grasped her hands in his. "Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Not at all!" she beamed. "Now let's do this!"
"But I just don't get it!" Joey raked a hand through his tousled bangs.
"Big brother," Serenity patiently instructed, "recall the rule of thumb. Masculine words usually end in o, and feminine words usually end in a."
"But why is mapa (2) masculine?" he questioned. "It's el mapa, right?"
"¡Correcto! (3)" she confirmed. "However, there are exceptions to this rule."
"Perfect!" groaned Joey. "How am I supposed to know the article that corresponds to each noun in the Spanish language? It's impossible!"
"Well, I'm positive that you can!" Serenity declared. "You can do anything, big brother!"
"I—I can?" he shakily uttered. His eyes unconsciously moistened from the unconditional faith his sister had in him.
"Yes," she seriously proclaimed, "but only if you're willing to spend endless days and sleepless nights filled with rigorous training!"
"Huh?" Joey's face fell. 'That line sounds awfully familiar.' "Have you been speaking to Yugi's Gramps by any chance?"
Serenity winked fondly at him. "Joey, all it takes is a great deal of practice," she stated. "Think of Spanish as a duel."
"Yeah. I see where you're coming from," he nodded. "I think I'm actually getting the hang of this Spanish mumbo-jumbo."
"That's excellent!" the auburn-haired girl cheered.
"Let me have another try?" Joey pleaded.
"You don't have to ask, big brother," Serenity answered.
"So solución (4) will be el solución, and problema (5) is la problema?" inquired the blond while scribbling the Spanish words in the textbook's margins.
"Uh, no, those two are exceptions," she apologetically corrected. "Solución is feminine, and problema is masculine. The results will be la solución and el problema in the singular form."
Joey halted writing and began to massage his right temple. "That figures," he listlessly said. His golden bangs flew over his eyes to shield them from Serenity's concerned gaze.
"What do you mean by that?" she reached over to gingerly tug his wrist down from the side of his head and parted his bangs to peer into his eyes.
"I've always been a problem, haven't I? Or causing problems?" he bitterly grinned. He eyes softened when Serenity desperately shook her head in disagreement. "But, you, sis. You've always been part of the solution."
"Joey, that's just not true!" she cried. "You helped me with my eyesight and have been there for me always!"
"Not so, sis," he quietly countered. "I made you cry too many times. That night before your operation, I let you down. After my Shadow Game with Marik, Tristan told me how you sobbed so much. Even when I was conscious, I couldn't even shelter you from that creep Noah when he turned you into stone—complete stone!" Joey's voice broke during the final part, and Serenity quickly engulfed him in a tight hug.
"Yes, but, Joey, who spurred me on to remove the bandages from my eyes? Who gave me the courage to continue to duel in Noah's virtual world?" she tenderly comforted him. "The answer is you, big brother."
Joey pulled her closer to him and furiously rubbed his eyes. "I suppose I got worked up over nothing, huh?" he blushed.
"No, it was something," Serenity insisted with her face nestled against his jacket's collar. "Just promise me this, Joey."
"Anything," the brown-eyed teen professed.
"Remember that you will always be el caballero de brillante armadura (6) in my life," she said.
"And you will always be la estrella (7) in mine, sis," the blond duelist smiled.
'You have to be,' he thought, 'because without you I wouldn't shine.'
(1) The light in language – "Lengua" literally means tongue, but I am accustomed to using that for "language." "Idioma" is perhaps the more proper way of saying "language."
(6) the knight in shining armor – "Caballero" also translates to gentleman, but I really mean "knight."
(7) the star
Spanish is not my first language, so, if there are any discrepancies in the Spanish-English translations, please drop me a line.