Disclaimer: All rights to the writers of YUGiOH.
I introduced my metal to you at the beginning of this fiction now that it is closing I just wanted to say again why I wrote it. Joey can say it best, you are all inspirational and you free up the restrains that bind. Thanks.
It's even more amazing that the Internet joins so many of us together from all around the world; we are united in friendship. Hey and it is 352 days out of the year, so in a sense we are Olympic champs in our own way enduring always. Sometimes reviewers hand us our metals and follow authors, sama's, chan's, beta's, senpai's and koi's give us the courage to push on to the finish line. I give you all gold medals for the courage to post and bare your very souls to the world.
This is my metal to all of you!! Wear it proudly, you have deserved it.
The metal would have rings of gold, silver, and bronze around the edges. In the middle of the metal a scroll unrolled with a quill pen and small bottle of ink, slightly raised would be centered. Words written in Greek would say "I write to live, I live to write."
A tribute to reviewers would be on the back, "I read with passion, I read with heart" a small book open in the middle would be in the center of the metal.
Well that's one writer's vision, hope you like it. Let me know. Well let's get it on!!
This will most likely end this fiction. But the friendship stories of courage will live on!! It's been a challenge one of which I have received support and enjoyed lots. Thanks….
Chapter Nine: Reflections
A lone young man with golden brown hair stood over a marble kitchen counter and glazed up at the heavens through an open in the ceiling of his kitchen. He was distracted for just a moment from his immediate task of completing dinner preparations because the moon shone brightly through the sky-light roof of his kitchen. Similar sky-light roofs were also installed in the man's bedroom and living room areas. Joey loved looking up at the stars at night and the sun during the day.
He hummed a childhood song or poem of sorts and continued to lose himself in pleasant thoughts . . . . 'Star light, Star bright . . . first star I see tonight . . . . Wish I may, wish I might . . . Have the wish I wish tonight.' Life had taken sharp turns for the dreamer in his soul, because Joey the boy who would dream of five rings, now lived in a million dollar custom made penthouse.
He continued to enjoy the stars and moon when the sound of a tea kettle brought him back down to earth. 'Opps . . . I still have to garish the plates, 'he though. With hours of practice Joey placed barley, parsley, and oregano in a decorative display around the pasta rolls he had hand rolled on individual plates . . . no china. He'd created his own special sauce, spicy, along with freshly baked garlic bread. The meal would be tasty and fun.
"Joeyyyyyyyyyy . . . . I'm hungry." A high pitched voice drifted into the slavish kitchen and made the blond laugh. Over the years the bonds of friendship between Joey, Yami, and Yugi had deepen ; often spending weekends together; sometimes in the city or at one of Joey's weekend villas on a remote island in the orient.
"Ok Yugi just let me get the tea and dinner is served. I hope you have that famous Mouton appetite." Joey hollowed back. He placed the plates and tea pot on a trolley and smiled at his work. Joey loved to cook in his spare time and he was very good at it. With care he placed all the knives and utensils back in the appropriate blocks and hung up the expensive silver pots and pans he had used in preparing dinner. Always hungry or relying on others for food as a child his pride and joy resided in the kitchen.
As he rounded the corner leading into his living room the warmth from the fireplace caressed his skin and he smiled as a light breeze ruffled his hair at the same time from the open sky-light. Yeah, it was without a doubt a very special place to live in. Joey brought the openness of outdoors into him home, but he loved the coziness of a fire. It was a reminder he would never be force to have one without the other. He would never be cold and alone on the streets again. The stars always kept his dream alive.
"Mmmm. . . . Smells incredibly good," Yugi whispered. "Maybe I should test the sauce first." He reached into the pot, but Joey pulled it back and gentle shook his finger at Yugi.
"Hey, just wait a moment. Ryou should be about finish with his project? Remember you are the one who told him to bring it over." Joey laughed. Ryou was a close friend of Yugi's from the house that had burn down years ago. Actually Yugi had it rebuilt and Ryou was in charge of all operations. Tonight Yugi invited the young man over to celebrate with him because he knew the boy would most likely go home to take out food. The boy was a loner and Yugi wanted to change that. He remembered the pain as a teen he suffered wondering why he felt the way he did about boys. Yet with the help of friends his world became livable. It was his mission to help teens discover who they were and what they wanted in life. Ryou just lacked confidence and courage.
"Besides Yami is still in the shower," Joey laughed. It's not often people come for dinner and take a shower, yet Yami the five thousand year old pharaoh was completely mesmerized by the six different shower heads that pulsated and massaged your body all at the same time. He always made an excuse for a three minute shower before one of Joey's famous dinners or get together. Yami was completely shameless when it came to gadgets and Joey's penthouse had many. "Maybe you should go and get him," spoke the blond. Even Joey's stomach was starting to growl.
"Yami . . . Ryou . . . enough, it's time to eat," screamed Yugi. He left his comfortable seat on the floor and followed the steam coming from around the corner which led to the king size bathroom which was also equip with a sauna and hot stone steam room. Joey spared no expenses when it came to his personal luxuries. Ryou met the petite gymnasts halfway smiling in admiration of his idol; Joey being his second best hero.
"Ok, Yugi, I'm coming out, just give me one minute to dry my hair. Yugi, you have got to try this; the heat comes from a fan built inside the wall." Yami's was completely involved with the new hands free blow dryer installed in the bathroom.
"Joey, why did you have to tell him about that?" mumbled Yugi.
"Come on Yugi. . . Let go back and wait with Joey, he looks a little down?" Ryou whispered.
Back in the living room Joey tried to smile but the expression on his face suggested he was miles away. The light from the fire place danced across his near prefect features, it clearly outlined the worry in his heart.
"Joey, why so down, tomorrow is one of the biggest days ever in the history of Domino and you made it happen," Yugi spoke softly and set next to Joey as he watched the flames dance in the fireplace. Ryou set on the other side of the two close friends, and turned the burner up a little on the trays of food.
"I know you are not still angry at Tea," spoke Yugi.
"Ahh . . . Yugi, it's not that I am mad at her. But why did she have to marry that jerk-face anyway?" Joey moaned. "I could have introduced her to someone else if she'd just waited. But no money –bags takes her to operas, and sends roses every day and well he's still an arrogant ass."
"Just a big old show off, especially that birthday party, why I could have done that to." barked Joey.
"Oh . . . you mean when Seto invited the cast from the Phantom of the Opera to Kaiba Land for a one night special performance and Seto proposed to Tea right on the stage." Yugi had stars in his eyes, just remembering the handsome CEO dressed in a black cape and white mask. He wore a red rose in his lapel and graceful bend down on his left knee and called for Tea who had a box seat in front of the stage. It was so romantic everyone in the theater cried and Tea almost fainted. It was a private party and Seto flew the cast in on one of his private jets. After all the CEO had more money than anyone could ever image. Now he had someone to spend a little of it on. Seto was actually fighting the promise of happiness, but with Tea he was losing the battle. He was having fun, scary.
"Yugi, wake up damn it!!! Ok, I'll admit that was a dream night for Tea." Joey pouted.
"Joey, its part your fault, remember you told him to quit playing games with your girl. You said he wasn't good enough for Tea and that you would help her find a real man. And then you paid those swimmers to chase Tea, just to make Kaiba mad." Yugi laughed. "Tea didn't speak to you for almost a month."
"Yeah I remember." Joey had to laugh. His best friend had become Tea Gardner Kaiba six months ago. It was the talk of the financial and social worlds. Tea and Kaiba were the hottest couple and surprisingly loved by many. Tea, former Olympic gold medal winner of the 2008 games had the grace and style to enhance the ice man, and melt his cold exterior. He was actually caught in a rare picture smiling; the picture stayed on the cover of Time magazine for six weeks.
"Plus is there anyone good enough for Tea in your eyes. Kaiba can give Tea anything she wants and everything she doesn't for the rest of her life. She also got a great little brother to. You know Mokuba loves Tea to death, so what is the problem, man?" Yugi patted Joey on the back.
"K. a. i. b. a. ! ! his name is enough." Joey laid his head on Yugi's shoulder. "I can give her everything she needs too." Joey pouted. It had been eight years and two sets of Olympic Gold Medals for the boy from Domino.
In the first Olympics, Joey won the gold in four track and field events. Offers rolled in for commercials and after six months he had developed his own running shoes. The shoes were called dreamers and worn my young girls and boys everywhere. He developed a special line for special Ed children and distributed shoes freely to those that could not afford the cost.
In three years time Joey had schools and homes where any child on the street could find shelter. Often he would take volunteers and round up teens from parks and alleys late at night and talk to them until daybreak. His wealth grew and the small town boy became rich. He competed four years later and broke his own records and he held all his former titles; not only his country called him a hero, but now the dreamer of five rings was a living legend. One huge monument stood in the town square of Domino.
Tomorrow the young man would carry the torch the last mile to start the opening ceremonies of the third games he would be a part of. Later he would be honored for his contributions in the humanities and sports. But in the mist of it all Joey was still the little boy with the curly hair that stayed in the back of Tristan mom's shop. He was still the teen who had his hair flat ironed by his best friend.
"Joey, so you want to be her friend and lover?" Yami heard the ending of the conversation and jumped right in. Ryou's lip fell open.
"Agrrr . . . . No way, Tea's my buddy for life. She's like my baby sister. Ok, I know she has always loved that jerk . . . . But the idea of little Kaiba's running around is scarryyyyy man." Joey held his breath and let out a laugh that caused everyone to burst out laughing right behind him. They were all holding their sides and cracking up.
"Ok, let's eat." Joey giggled, just like old times. Secretly he was very happy for Tea to be loved, because Kaiba would never let anyone harm his friend and the thought of a little Kaiba's was cute. Especially since Tea has promise to name her first son Katsuya. Now Joey smirked inside his heart. Beside he knew the child would be Tea's, that made it right.
Meanwhile on the other side of the country . . . .
"Tea it's going to be just fine; Nii-sama will get us back in time for the show." Mokuba spoke with certainty.
"It's my fault for not telling him how I felt" Tea softly whispered to Mokuba, a little anxiety in her heart. She hated when Seto felt he had disappointed her in anyway, because of the happiness he brought to their lives. "Thanks Mokuba for helping me."
"Hay, you're my sister, and I never had one before. So it just makes me feel . . . . . Well Tea . . ." Mokuba couldn't finish his sentence; he blushed a fire engine red and thought about a conversation with his brother of almost three days ago.
Flashback . . . .
Mokuba had just finish the national tennis circuit and decided to call Seto just to say hi, before he headed back to Domino, "Seto I can't wait to see you and Tea. I bet she is so excited about the Olympics and Joey's carrying the torch for all of world to see." Mokuba's excitement was infectious.
"Seto is that Mokuba," spoke Tea with a little sadness in her voice. Seto put him on speaker. The couple was getting ready to go out dancing.
"Mokuba we're in Paris at the annual business convention for gamers. Tea is a spokes person for the annual Paris Swimsuit Convention. She is going to introduce the fall collection. It took a lot of effort to arrange this.
"What!!!" Mokuba screamed out loud. "You mean to tell me Tea is not in Domino with Joey and the gang. What about the five rings?"
That did it for the bride of six months. Chestnut hair flying from side to side Tea ran out of the room tears streaming down her cheeks; she was so miserable.
"Tea, Tea . . . where are you going?" barked Seto, torn between continuing the conversation or chasing after his young bride.
"Mokuba I've got to go. I don't know what her problem is. She's been so moody." Seto spoke completely confused.
"Seto, you are the one confused. How could you!!!" Mokuba couldn't believe the stupidity in his brother's actions. "Do you really believe Tea cares about some dumb swimsuit when her best friend is about to make history. Seto she struggled right beside him all the way. They supported each other when everyone laughed, including you. Have you forgotten Joey inspired me to take up tennis, because I wanted to be like you."
"Seto take me off the speaker and sit down, well if you want to stay married." Mokuba huffed. He waited for his brother to get settled. "Nii-sama, I know how you feel about Joey, but Tea and Joey are best of friends. They have been together since kiddy sand box days and have grown to trust and take care of each other. How would you feel if someone tried to break us apart?"
"Honestly Mokuba they are not siblings. He's just a mutt . . ." Mokuba wouldn't let him finish. "Nii-sama you are a geniis how could you be so dumb?"
"Mokuba, I'm still your older brother," Seto fumed. "Show some respect."
"And for once I must agree, Seto Kaiba you are being a jerk and I am very ashamed of you." Mokuba sighed. How was he going to get his brother to understand this was wrong?
"Tea will never forgive herself if she misses this event. It was a dream of a ten year old boy and now he can share it with his closest friends and the world. Did you plan for Tea to be away at this time, knowing it would not be in her nature to put Joey over your plans? That is truly disgusting Nii-sama. Don't treat Tea like a business, she has feelings. If you want to grow old with Tea you'd better not try and separate her from her brother and lifelong friend. There are greater ties than blood." Mokuba hissed. He hated to be so harsh with his brother.
Seto frown and stared blankly at the phone. His ears picked up the sobs coming from the other room and realized he couldn't ignore Mokuba's words. Tea was most likely the saddest, richest girl in all of Paris. It was all true. He had used her love for him to force the young bride to choose. 'God I hope I can make this right.' He prayed. 'I'm so sorry Tea,' he thought.
"Nii-sama where are you?" his voice worried, maybe he had said too much.
"Yeah, I'm here. Mokuba can you be here by tomorrow and we can fly home together," he sounded so sad.
"Yeah, for Tea sake," Mokuba was not letting his brother off easy. He had hurt is only sister, and that was unacceptable. Tea was a jewel given to the Kaiba brothers and Mokuba would always view her that way.
"Thanks," Seto whispered. A man heavy in thought, he realized his beautiful young wife was in another room crying and it was his fault. 'Ok Seto, remember Mokuba said crawl on your knees and beg. Just remember the only words you can speak; I'm sorry, I love you, forgive me,' he mused.
Seto opened the door and prepared to drop to the floor, but one look at Tea's tear stained face and he fell apart. Tears started to gather in the corners of his eyes and Tea ran straight to his arms. The kiss between the two spoke volumes. The conversations shared between the two strengthen their love and lasted well into the night. The couple forgot about dancing and Seto knew exactly what he needed to do to make things right. One day later they were almost home.
"Just one more stop and we will be home Tea. Seto has to refuel and we'll take Blue Eyes Dragon the rest of the way," spoke Mokuba. "He also said he had to pick up a passenger."
"I'm fine, Mokuba, just a little nervous. Remember when we all came back home after the first games and the whole town greeted us at the airport." Tea smiled.
"Yeah and all those girls waving banners with pictures and cell phone numbers everywhere; Joey couldn't stop blushing." Mokuba chuckled at the memory. "Tea all Joey wanted was a parade and respect, but he brought together a city."
"Yeah, oh and don't forget honor." Tea voiced the word proudly. Mokuba raised his eyebrow at the word.
"Mokuba, Tristan competed in the Golden Arrow event and later restored his family name among the greatest archers in the country. It took almost eight years but the ceremony was held a few days ago to honor his mother; very private and traditional. Plus he opened up a school for beginners last year in his dad's home town." Tea words tumbled out she was so excited. "To bad he won't be at the ceremony tomorrow."
"Well, you never know. We didn't think you'd be coming." Mokuba smiled. "Joey is going to be so surprised."
Seto's voice boomed over the speaker, "Buckle up. We will be arriving in a moment."
Mokuba followed by Tea and Seto walked the short distance to the new and improved Blue Eyes Dragon Jet. She was majestic and could travel in stealth mode. Domino was only hours away. The doors slid open and Tea couldn't believe her eyes at the passenger smiling at the small party. She screamed and ran the short distance to his waiting arms.
Seto smiled it had been days since Tea laughed. It felt good to have the girl he fell in love with happy again over something so simple. Seto realize he had a lot to learn. He ruffled Mokuba's hair and voiced a silent thanks.
"Way to go big brother, can I sit up in the cock pit with you and let them talk." Mokuba smiled broadly.
"Sure . . . . Only if you promise me you'll be around for the next hundred years," the CEO smirked. The party was minutes away from the final destination. Seto was back in control.
Back at Joey's Penthouse thirty minutes later . . . .
"Wow I'm stuffed," Yugi rubbed his stomach and Yami burped.
"Yami, how rude," Ryou chucked.
"I needed a little room for Joey's double Dutch chocolate cake." Yami spoke after another burp. "Joey, somebody is ringing the door bell . . . .want me to answer?"
'Door . . . who could it be, this late?' he thought. Joey just had to add the final touch to his cake, but he guess it could wait a minute. "Look at the monitor first before you open it." He screamed back.
"Joey, Joey you'd better get in here fast . . . . . . "Yugi was breathless as he stood in the kitchen door way.
Yugi had gone pale, his skin was ghostly white. "My god Yugi what's wrong." In seconds the track star sprinted into the living room and almost fainted.
"Tea, Tea," hazel eyes locked with deep blue orbs and hands reached out to touch. "Tea is it really you?" Joey choked up. Since the marriage they had only talked on the phone once or twice. Joey didn't want to upset his friend or make Kaiba mad, so he kept his distance.
"Goodness who do you have to flat iron that hair? It looks awful." Tea could hardly speak.
Joey looked pass her shoulder and Seto nodded a silent approval. The blond grabbed his friend and crushed the air out of her lungs with a long needed hug.
"I've missed you so much Joey," Tea whispered against his golden locks.
"Yeah, missed you to; you're getting skinny," Joey teased Tea as he spun the beauty around in a circle. For a moment they were lost in their own world. Joey silently vowed, he would see Tea more often, it didn't matter what jerk-face said. They were buddies forever.
"Ahh . . . What about me; I want a hug," chirped Yugi.
"Ahh . . . I want a hug," screamed Yami.
"Ahh . . . We smell food," hollowed Tristan and Mokuba.
Joey turned around at the voices, "Tristan, Mokuba, my god!!" now the blond had tears in his eyes. He walked into the kitchen and brought out the double layered cake. On the top of the cake Joey had drawn five rings; now he gave everyone the chance to drawn their marks with white icing in the rings. The room was silent as the young adults finished decorating the cake. Seto was given the honor of lighting the candles and everyone blew out the flames.
"Seto, I never thought I would agree with yeah on anything, but thanks man for bringing my friends home to me." Joey murmured.
"Yeah, it wasn't for you," Seto barked.
"Husband, you promised to be nice," Tea flashed silted eyes at Seto.
"Tea, baby," Seto held his breath.
"Husband," Tea waited.
"You're welcome," Seto almost choked. The room was silent. Tea smiled.
The fireplace blaze and the group relaxed on fur rugs Joey brought out of a storage closet. He left the party and prepared guest rooms for everyone. No hotel for his friends. That was another luxury, he always had room for guest and the rooms were warm and cozy. Seto had to admit Joey really had a lot of style. He would have to rethink the attitude he had of the mutt. Joey even provided thick robes and sleeping gowns. Well Yugi and Yami had rooms of their own anyway.
Tea leaned against the comfort of her husband' shoulder and watched the faces of her lifelong friends as they laughed and reminisced about the past. Joey opened a metal case and lifted a small sand box complete with sand, chimes, and a stick. He looked at the group and spoke.
"It seems a life time ago with this stick I drew five rings in the sand. Call me an old fool, but later that day I went back to the playground and gathered this sand and put it in my pockets. I carried it everywhere; couldn't stop dreaming. Later I put it in a jar after your mom gave me a place to stay Tristan. Sometimes late at night I would spread it out on the floor and draw rings." He took a deep breath.
"I remember the nights I ran with no shoes and Tea let me wear her slippers and wrapped my bloody feet with her hair ribbons. God my hands and feet hurt like hell. Remember Tea you were always so tough and protected us geeks. I would crawl up a knot at the foot of your bed and cry myself to sleep and you would say. 'Its ok Joey, but only with me,' and I would really wet the pillows." Tea moved next to his side, and held his hands. She could almost feel the blisters of the twelve year old boy fighting to win. That was about the time she became serious about swimming.
Mokuba eyes widen in shock and Seto flinched. 'God, I've been such a fool,' thought Seto. 'Just because I never had a friend, I forgot everyone needs one. But he's still a mutt.'
Joey continued to talk, he had a lot to say, " Tea never gave up on me. I was always eaten her food, but she didn't care. You Mokuba were the youngest but the smartest. I thought it I stayed close it might rub off."
"Like hell," grumbled Seto.
"Big brother," wined Mokuba.
"It's ok, Mokuba, somebody has to be as ass, right! Tristan you had it all and then it was taken away. You gave me the power to hold on tight to my dream and never let it go. Yugi, well all my courage to fight for what I believie in came from you. You see it's more that the rings of the games. It's the rings in my heart that I treasure. I love you all." This time Tea took the stick and drew the circles in the sand box.
The night turned to day and one young man with perfectly flat iron hair, carried a torch down the center of town. At the end of his journey four friends, with hands joined together and hearts beating as one waited for the boy of the five rings to come home.
Reviews are most welcome. I have finished this story. Wow!!!! Sherabo crosses the finish line first.
Thanks for all the support and beta work, GeniusVamp.
Give a friend a hug and inspire a child to write. Love ya!!!!!
Triple thanks to those that have reviewed, alerts, and hits!!!!