A/N: These chapters are slow, I'm sorry. I'm setting up characters and what I want to do with them. And I promise the title will be explained eventually. "Kaiten" really does mean "to change destiny" (or some variation of that; there are several translations), so think of that as you read. R and R please!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my plots and OC's.
Chapter 2: All These Questions
I remember when we all became friends. I need these happy thoughts because there's a lot changing around me and I'm afraid. For the first time in a while, I'm really afraid.
Honda read the letter in front of him, frowning. This was not the Yugi he knew. A month ago, he's written long, looping sentences, glancing over a girl, talking about his roommate, the campus. Now, things were different. The letter was tinted with sadness and the kind of homesickness that Honda knew far surpassed the kind he'd felt at summer camp ten years ago. Shaking his head, he shoved the letter back into his pocket. It was the fourth time he'd read it. Something about Yugi's words bothered him, but he pushed it from his mind. As much as he cared for his friend, today he needed to concentrate. He needed to find a job.
He'd attempted to beg and plead Yugi's grandfather for something, but, of course, that job was filled by Atemu. He tried not to sound too disappointed and saved his grumblings for when he'd hung up the phone. Atemu had become their friend only a year ago. Honda and Jounouch had been Yugi's friends since the sixth grade. All the secrets Atemu and Yugi had, the strange relationship, then the job...it just didn't seem fair. Where was all this for he and Jou? Where were their secrets? No matter. Those weren't important thoughts. Not right now anyway. He owed it to Yugi to be Atemu's friend, no matter what. Atemu was a good guy, despite his shyness. Honda had to give him that.
Walking down the sidewalk, he took in the cold air. It was October already. Yugi had been gone for over a month now. And many things seemed to have changed. Atemu had called things off with a girl he'd been seeing from across town. Jounouchi was beginning classes at the local university. And Honda...well, he was still trying to find something. Something important. Something he didn't think was just there. He had to really look for it, really try and understand what it was he needed. He suspected it wasn't something he could see, but rather felt. Of course, he could hardly speak to anyone about these things. It was silly, really, to try and say anything like this to Jounouchi. Jou was his best friend, yes, but when things got too abstract for him he tended to fall back on the same old ridicule he'd picked up from the harsh gangs he'd hung out with as a boy. Men didn't search for some unseen mysterious desire. Men did what they wanted and had what they needed.
And if they didn't have it, they went out and took it.
Honda was never that type of person, so he assumed that he wasn't really a man. Which was fine by him. He was happy being whatever he was. Even if that person felt a bit empty inside. It was better than being in prison, like most of Jou's old friends. He liked this guy he found himself to be.
When an hour spent pestering store owners came up fruitless, Honda retreated to the Kame Game Shop.
"No no! No! You get out!" Suguroku said, coming out from behind his spot at the cash register. "I won't argue with you about - Honda, what's the matter?"
"Ah, nothing really. Just another empty job search." Suguroku nodded and gestured for Honda to follow him to the back room. He turned the "open" sign to "closed" and quickly went into the back and began making tea. Suguroku believed that there was not a single problem in the world that could not be discussed and solved over a cup of tea. And he had yet to face a problem that disproved this theory, so he took great joy in handing a steam cup over to Honda and watching the young man take in its heat and flavor, the color returning to his cheeks and a slow smile spreading across his face. "Now, tell me what is troubling you. I have a feeling it's more than this job search you're so intent on carrying out."
Honda sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "Yugi is so lucky," he said, looking at the ceiling. "He knows exactly what he wants, you know? He's smart." Honda tapped the side of his head and took another sip of tea. "He's always known. He used to say, 'I'm going to go to America for school, so don't get too attached.' And Jou and I, we just laughed and failed our exams and didn't really think about the future. And now it's here and..." At this point, Honda had to pause and look hard at his palms, remembering all the times Atemu had told them that secrets and futures were living in the lines there, or so his mother had told him. "The future used to seem so far off. And suddenly it got here and I'm just...existing. With nothing to support me. My mom wants to kick me out and my dad...he just wants me to go to law school and do something useful with my life."
Suguroku looked thoughful for a minute and then leaned forward. "What is it you want to do?" Honda's eyes widened for a second and then closed tight. He shook his head, clenching his fingers closed and pressing the tip of his nails deep into his palms. He had no idea what he wanted to do. None at all. "Well, that's it then. That's the question you have to answer. What do you want? We all spend our whole lives figuring out simple truths, Honda. Why are we here? What do we want? Who do we love? Are we meant to love at all? And when you find these answers, sometimes it's so late in life, you think you won't ever need them. But you always do. I think that you're a smart boy, too, Honda. And if you want to, you can go to school anywhere you'd like. And you can do whatever it is you want to. You just need to clear all these doubts from your head and get out there."
"But...but what if I never find these answers?" Suguroku laughed and took the old tea cup away.
"I asked my father the same thing when I was your age. And he didn't tell me much at all. I promise you, you're going to be alright." Honda nodded, feeling a great weight off of his shoulders and understanding, now, what he had to do. He thanked the old man for the tea and his time and made his way back onto the streets. He hit them harder, feeling a purpose in each step of his shoes on the pavement.
For the first time in a while, I'm really afraid, Yugi had written. Honda worried for him, but knew that he had to do something. He, too, was afraid. Afraid of the new future that loomed ahead. The future of his childhood had come to haunt his every waking moment. What will you do? Where will you go? Questions his father asked at dinner, angrily expected what he wanted to hear: law school, father. But Honda would not go to law school. He would not accept a path for himself laid out by another.
For the rest of the day, Honda looked and looked for a job until, finally, in the most unlikely of places, he found one.
Laughing to himself as he walked out two hours later with a name tag in his back pocket, he wondered where Jounouchi was. It was nice to have a job where he knew his friend wouldn't bother him.